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Troika deconstruct the V&A

Digital, Graphic Design

Posted by Mark Sinclair, 4 August 2010, 14:11    Permalink    Comments (18)

Troika recently unveiled a kinetic sign that directs visitors to London's V&A Museum from the tunnel at South Kensington tube station. Referencing the simple beauty of Alan Fletcher's celebrated identity for the museum, the designers created the stand-alone artwork, Palindrome...

The piece is essentially a revolving V&A monogram suspended in a cylindrical ceiling-mounted capsule. According to Troika "the logo decontructs and reconnects itself with each half turn forming a playful palindrome legible from either side, while the wheels produce a gentle ticking sound reminiscent of a Victorian automaton clockwork."

While the piece looks to be made from three floating sections of lettering, the installation in fact features some 85 handmade elements including fasteners, gears and a housing case, which hark back to the objects (and the ways that they're displayed) in the museum itself.

To view the piece in action, check out the video clip below. For some more imagery and details on the making of Palindrome, see Troika's description at the bottom of the post.

Palindrome is installed in the "museum tunnel" leading from South Kensington tube station to the V&A museum in London.

Troika explain how they made Palindrome:

The technique of mirror-polished high-quality brass and stainless steel was followed with an acid-etching process resulting in a highly contrasted decorative pattern. Using traditional machine processes proved unfeasible for gears of this particular thinness and the complex surface design required a bespoke method of cutting.

This distinct work process required that the gear profiles were developed within the limitations of its process. By adopting high precision water-jet cutting meant that we could allow the stainless steel plates to be acid-etched, then filled with gloss black acrylic varnish before being cut into their final profiles. 

Suspended from a lit casing, the bright blue letters are each 0.5 metre high, and balanced by an internal pocketing to ensure a minimal load on the purpose-built mechanism. As a result, the work can be powered by a small motor and generate the revolving motion using only the three small mitre gears seen on the top of the ampersand.

The entire delicate compilation is encased in a clear acrylic tube of 0.7m diameter wide and 1.3m long. The tube is closed off with rings, each 0.74m diameter wide produced from solid aluminium to give it its spectacular finish.


I saw this last weekend and took a picture because I think it's absolute genius. Congratulations to Troika and to the V&A who obviously know how to choose the right design agency.
Jennifer Smith
2010-08-04 15:08:15

2010-08-04 15:23:08


This shows just how good the logo is. Great work.
2010-08-04 16:00:10

Brilliant stuff!
2010-08-04 18:07:02

Love this, a great testament to a great logo by an even greater designer, Alan Fletcher.
2010-08-04 21:34:14

Mmmmmm cleaver!
Graphic Design Manchester
2010-08-04 23:11:17

This. Is. F@#KING. AWESOME!!!!!
2010-08-05 01:36:40

2010-08-05 09:51:25

this kind of thing you can see only in London
Boris Kralj
2010-08-05 10:14:26

Truly lovely
2010-08-05 12:37:03

The only downside to this is that I would miss many trains and V&A shows just sitting watching it.
Joel Priestland
2010-08-06 07:58:13

Always loved the V&A logo. I remember being shown it at college in '95, as an example of good corporate identity!
Sous Vide
2010-08-06 11:29:30

2010-08-06 12:35:26

Absolutely Brilliant!! Intelligent and captivating design
Tim Bassford
2010-08-06 12:37:13


So to the accompanying music.
2010-08-06 12:42:32

Always a fan of Troika;
Always a fan of Fletcher.

This is a beautifully refined process which illustrates how beautifully refined the logotype is.
Stuart Paciej
2010-08-08 15:59:23

really nice.

I love seeing things taken off the page/screen and made into physical objects. Before reading i thought this was done with lights and lasers (which would still ave been cool) the colour is just amazing.
2010-08-10 15:54:08

Great Installation, this Shows two sides of the logo and how they combine in one way, represents V&A in a unique piece of a versatile and complete art. Troika what a nice concept.
2012-11-03 21:05:01

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