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University of Cambridge Library

University of Cambridge Library is a Grade II listed landmark building within the grounds of the University. 
As part of an extensive signage and way-finding scheme, DMA Signs were commissioned to manufacture and install the signage, working alongside designers' Nicholas Hawksworth'. An anthology of contemporary sign designs was developed to assist visitors, students, and users in navigating and understanding services on offer and applied with a sensitive touch to preserve the architectural credibility of this building with such historical and cultural importance.
 
The new signage design took small elements of design detail from the architectural style of the building. It balanced the need for clear visitor pathways without obscuring the sheer beauty of the building itself.

 

The building is impressive to look at but proved to be confusing to use. For example, existing room names were abstract and hard
to remember. The building also had layers of outdated designs, signs, and information to be stripped back.
 
"The architects on the project, 'Nicholas Hawksworth', had also requested initially a solid metal fabrication that would have been very expensive to produce. With our extensive experience of manufacturing techniques, we were able to value engineer the design, presenting an alternative proposal that offered significant cost savings to the client.


Antique Bronze paints and finishes to match Interpon D2525 Cappadoce - 2525 were developed to look and feel like natural metals. The sign components were finished with a tarnished Bronze metal effect, a revolutionary process that applies a veneer of a metal coating to the surface and gives the look and feel of solid metal. This Metal-FX manufacturing process involves artisan hand-finishing, polishing, and painting multiple layers to achieve the appearance of aged brass, matching other architectural details in the build. Though it was time-consuming, the weight and cost savings over traditional brass fabrication were considerable. The Tekcel router using 6mm thick acrylic and aluminium were used to manufacture most sign types.

The project was guided by the University FM team and Centre staff to great success and has provided the University with a consistent, cross-platform theme that aids and enhances the University Library's understanding. Work continues to date, with way-finding schemes for other buildings, both under construction and currently planned refurbishment works.