Commissioned in 1616, the Queen’s House is one of the most important buildings in British architectural history, being the first consciously classical building to have been constructed in Britain. It was Jones’s first major commission after returning from his 1613–1615 grand tour of Roman, Renaissance and Palladian architecture in Italy. The building reflects Renaissance ideals of mathematical, classical proportion and harmony which would have appeared revolutionary to English eyes in its day.
We were commissioned at the start of a two year master plan to review a new environmental graphics and way-finding scheme. The first step was to remove the myriad of municipal design languages that have crept in to the building in recent years. The new design idea carefully observes the historical legacy of the house whilst acknowledging the contemporary context within which it exists. Inspired by the idea that geometry is a source of beauty (an idea inherent in the architectural premise of the house) we created hierarchies of content that all shared the same width of line – unifying content of various scales and styles. Large-scale-freestanding signs were drawn with a similar mathematical rationality inline with both classical and modernist principles. They stand bravely introducing guests to key aspects of the house. The signs are finished with gold-plated footings that complement the electric blue typography that was matched to the original ‘Queen’s House blue’ found on the original Tulip Stairs at the heart of the building.
Photography by Michael Bodiam