On first listening to, ‘Florentia Village’ is a ridiculous identify for a warehouse complicated in South Tottenham, as if Hyacinth Bouquet had someway risen from the grave and gained a seat on the borough council to be able to render floridly Italianate a dirty chunk of East London. Nevertheless, the identify does the truth is come up from an natural nomenclatural etymology: indicating ‘flourishing’ or ‘affluent’, but in addition maybe deriving from the flowery patterns of textiles manufactured on the location.
Florentia Clothes Village was initially established as a textile manufacturing centre within the Seventies. Positioned inside Haringey Warehouse District in South Tottenham, it contains 90,000 sq ft of warehousing and manufacturing facility house, 42 loft flats and 1.5 acres of ‘vacant house’. It has now been acquired by developer Common Tasks, with the acknowledged intention of making ‘considered one of London’s largest artistic maker hubs – a neighborhood useful resource the place unbiased manufacturing and design companies are set to thrive’.
Up to now, so good. In contrast to the senseless and far reviled plan by developer MajorLink to ‘redevelop’ (aka ‘demolish, evict and switch into luxurious flats’) the neighbouring Omega Works warehouse complicated, the builders behind Florentia Village appear really dedicated to the welfare of the creatives and small companies that outline the world. Common Tasks state that ‘our imaginative and prescient is to redefine and reinvigorate this characterful web site by cautious refurbishment and the addition of 100,000 sq ft of latest, purpose-built, best-in-class maker services – doubling the dimensions of the campus, and bringing collectively a neighborhood of over 150 like-minded creatives to Haringey’. They add that ‘we are going to set a programme of significant advantages in place for brand spanking new and current occupiers, in addition to our neighbours – offering them with all of the assist and assets they want in each step of their work trip.’
DNCO has dealt with the branding of this intensive and bold revitalisation undertaking, and has devised a model that is stuffed with power and vigour, celebrating the location’s industrial heritage. DNCO state that they got down to create ‘a model that makes your fingers itch to assemble its items’, and in some ways they’ve succeeded.
The foremost component of the model is a wonderful ‘found-object’ impressed show typeface, with letterforms rendered as a graphic Mecano-kit of nuts, bolts, spanners, brackets and different ambiguous industrial ephemera, all simplified to pleasingly irregular geometric varieties. Whereas this can be a robust homage to a broader manufacturing legacy, the letterforms aren’t significantly evocative of the precise textile manufacturing historical past of the location. As an alternative, they emphasise Florentia’s progressive growth ‘into the broader artistic spheres of meals, client merchandise, movie, theatre, music, design and pictures.’ Maybe the purpose is that this library of interesting varieties (and there are a very spectacular array of alternate character designs for every letter) factors open-endedly to future creativity, somewhat than any explicit second in Florentia’s previous.
The found-typographic components are held collectively by a intelligent framework impressed by punch-out kits (suppose Air-fix fashions). These kits have an inherent attraction to creatives: each harking back to early childhood creativity, and possessed of an innate, iconic graphic high quality – a neatly spaced tessellation of miniature and multifarious varieties, held in place by elegantly spindly plastic threads.
These graphic qualities are given freest vary within the wonderful murals that DNCO has created for Florentia’s partitions. Elsewhere, the punch-out equipment framework is simplified to a chunkier, round-cornered rectangular border across the logotype and different typographic components. Whereas dropping among the fast visible connection, this makes the system really versatile and one can simply think about it flexing to accommodate an enormous vary of potential functions.
Out of the palette of neon vivid colors, the tangerine orange is strongest. It captures the vitality of the design-led companies of Florentia’s current, whereas connecting to the commercial heritage of the location. The accompanying neon inexperienced, turquoise and pink are extra of a departure, taking the branding in a course extra redolent of a competition or nightclub. A clue to the rationale behind this lies within the last photograph of DNCO’s case-study: a candid shot of intentionally shabby hipsters in sun shades sipping craft ales from wobbly plastic pint glasses in entrance of considered one of Florentia Village’s scorching pink partitions – a scene so stereotypical of gentrified East London that it might have been generated by AI. It stands to cause that in the middle of remodeling Florentia Village into ‘a brand new benchmark for contemporary, design-led creator areas’, Common Tasks most likely additionally want a model that can propel the location into this type of generic, craft-ale lubricated millennial affluence.
There’s a second of fascinating distinction between these ‘poppy’ vivid hues with a brown paper color/texture that briefly seems in a showreel in DNCO’s case examine. I might be curious to see the probabilities for combining this skeuomorphic color and texture component (and maybe there are others – corrugated metal, brickwork and so on) with the extra summary graphic varieties and vivid colors.
In one other level of profitable distinction between model components, the discovered typography and abstracted letterforms are complemented by excessive distinction direct-flash pictures. The type fits, and from the few examples seen within the case examine, the artwork course additionally appears properly thought out: capturing the typically unglamorous however fascinating actuality of those artistic companies (attire being steam-cleaned, photoshoot backdrops being assembled), documenting the giddy pleasure of fledgeling companies. The pictures supplies a welcome sprint of the fact of Florentia Village and its companies, introduced with pleasure but in addition with a loveable humility.
To return full circle and return to that curiously flowery identify: one wonders whether or not a extra particular sense of this charmingly eclectic architectural, etymological and industrial actuality might have made it into the model. Among the many post-industrial fantasy of nuts, bolts and spanners, a bit of house might have been made for a needle and thread or two, as each a nod to the location’s true historical past, and as a technique to marry that highfalutin identify with the brash, industrial visuals. Just like the ‘lo-fi neighborhood boards’ from which it borrows its ‘monotone textures’ and lurid neon palette, sometimes this model appears to be merely papered excessive of Florentia Village. Maybe this was the intention, to create a kind of artificial unity between the disconnected architectural kinds, multi-functional areas and the constellation of enterprise that comprise the location, however one struggles to shake the nagging feeling that this model may very well be overlaid on just about any warehouse redevelopment within the nation.
What the model does seize in abundance, nevertheless, is a good feeling of power and positivity. On this sense, the model does seize that ‘flourishing’ etymology of Florentia. This sense of vigour is clear within the exhaustive library of alternate letterforms that the workforce at DNCO so clearly had a blast creating, within the pictures, and within the delightfully squishy, kinetic grid system that grows and shrinks and morphs to fill any house and accommodate any content material. The enjoyment and power of this model bodes properly for the makers of Florentia Village, and one hopes that it represents the builders’ intentions to protect all that’s good about Florentia Village as they redevelop it.