Westgate, the largest and most anticipated retail and leisure destination of 2017, opened on Tuesday 24th October and FRA were there to witness the occasion along with thousands of excited visitors.
The £420m development covering 800,000 sq ft is anchored by a John Lewis flagship store, over 100 retail units and a sophisticated garden roof terrace with restaurants and cafes providing spectacular views across the city’s historic roofscape.
FRA were appointed as wayfinding consultants three years ago by the developers Westgate Oxford Alliance (WOA a joint venture with Land Sec and The Crown Estate), during the design stage we worked closely with WOA client and Design Team led by architects BDP, landscape architects Gillespies, brand consultancy Fitch and art consultants Modus Operandi. During construction we coordinated with main contractor Laing O’Rouke and their architects Chapman Taylor adjusting design intent to marry with final construction details. Our scope of the works included wayfinding strategy, signage design, mapping and information design, prototyping, procurement advice and full project management monitoring of manufacture and installation to ensure the design was implemented seamlessly. We worked closely with two signage delivery companies, IS Group and Ascot Signs to make sure the signage quality was consistent and seamless across the scheme.
The wayfinding scheme reflects the brand positioning and compliments the architectural and public realm design to help create a holistic approach to placemaking, this was very much a team effort and we believe the scheme benefits from this approach .
The scheme is an open shopping centre, a series of streets, spaces and squares. The wayfinding strategy captures visitors at all entry points into the scheme, we analysed and mapped out their journeys, the signs guide them through the horizontal and vertical routes with centre directories and fingerposts at key decision nodes. The design of the sign family is sensitive to the Oxford location, dovetails to the wider city context whilst providing clear directional information and promotion of the tenant mix.
The project has been 3 years in the making, our team have enjoyed working closely with the client Design Team to ensure the wayfinding is effective and user focused, the information design succinct and consistent and that the product design reflects the brand ethos of Westgate; integrating successfully with the built environment. It's been great to have the opportunity to work with WOA and Laing O’Rourke to project manage the delivery of various signage packages, this has allowed us time and access to coordinate the delivery and ensure the quality of the end installation. It's been a joy having the chance to be able to craft this scheme so completely and we hope this shows in the level of detail.