We were thrilled to provide LED illuminated letters to Camden’s Hawley School. This recently completed project was given the Outstanding Design Award at the Camden Business Awards in 2017 for its architectural transformation. Just 300 metres away from its previous residence where it existed for a hundred years, the establishment has now been revolutionised, allowing it to become an ‘all-through’ primary for the kids to stay on till age 11. Thanks to its historical connection, the decision to move it and make it part of larger area-wide regeneration project was made by public consultation and popular demand.

The new site honours these communal roots with its use of diverse materials, its courtyard layout that branches out into terraces, and its wide double-height entrance hallways and corridors – which all visually connect it to the surrounding urban setting. An upgrade like this changes not just the nature of the building in question, but the whole environment, representing intelligent design at its finest. The brand new facade is the face of the future for the community, and we were well aware that the school’s sole sign had to do that sentiment justice.

We knew we wanted this school sign to fit in with the sense of modernisation projected by the new school building and with the ongoing investment being pooled into this part of Camden in general. As such the letters making up the sign came in strong architectural shapes – 100mm thick and made of brushed stainless steel in a nod to the physical evolution of the school. Utilising weather-wearing 3M translucent vinyl, we painstakingly installed opal faces onto each rimless 3D letter, fitting the front aspect perfectly. We then set LED modules inside each letter, achieving maximum illumination that would diffuse a soft glow across the street in front.

One of the challenges we encountered was making sure the shell provided enough rigidity to support the entire construction, especially as the sign was to be suspended across the school entrance way. It would after all, be mounted on brackets attached to walls that were slanted diagonally, causing possible issues at implementation stage.

To circumvent that eventuality, we got drawings produced and built brackets that fit those angles exactly. We went with 50mm box section aluminium as the bracket material and powder coated them in an amber colour, making certain they weren’t too thick and that they wouldn’t detract from the lettering. It’s really satisfying to see the sign match the building fabric so well and keep up the general level of design, and we think it’s fitting that the school name can shine so brightly – providing necessary warmth in a darker inner city area and reflecting the place this school holds in the hearts of locals.