While creative communities largely used to form organically, in recent years development companies have bought into the ‘build it and they will come’ approach, as seen with developments such as the Design District in London’s Greenwich Peninsula.
First established as a textile manufacturing centre in the 1970s, Florentia Village in the Harringay Warehouse District remains one of the north London creative community’s best kept secrets.
As developer General Projects embarks on a project to reinvigorate the campus, doubling its size with more than 90,000 square feet of new facilities, it approached DNCO to create an identity fit for its future expansion.
A creative studio for place and culture, DNCO is behind the reinvention of other districts including Brent Cross Town and Here East in London. The studio’s brief for Florentia Village was to create a place brand that would preserve its tradition of making.
Spanning the positioning, brand identity, website and physical murals, the new brand is rooted in the idea ‘for the love of making’, reflecting the area’s long history of making that spans fruit pastels to pianos.
“We were inspired by tools of the trade and the industrial nature of moulding where pour lines are revealed as connecting lines of sprue. With this as a starting point, we developed a flexible framework to showcase the individuality of the makers,” says DNCO senior designer, Maria Hamer.
The custom-designed, flexible logotype continually reassembles to reflect a place that is constantly creating, as well as showcasing the personalities of the different makers and artists that call Florentia Village home.
A new typographic system borrows bolts, hinges, discs and manufacturing motifs to evoke the joy of craft in progress, while bright pops of colour are paired with monotone textures that reference the fly-posting advertising found in the area.
The brand also needed to work as well in the real world as it did online. The choice of colours and graphic language are designed to help unify different architectural aesthetics, which include cottage-style buildings from the 70s and contemporary corrugated steel warehouses.
DNCO hopes that the work will help preserve Florentia Village as a much-needed space for the creative industries, at a time when many other maker spaces have closed down to make way for luxury residential developments.
“Any creative space in our capital is worth celebrating and protecting. Florentia Village is particularly special. It has a homegrown charm and sense of independence that is hard to replicate,” says senior strategist Brenda Sjahrial.
“We wanted to ensure our brand captured its character and allowed a degree of freedom for artists to make their own. ‘For the love of making’ captures that all-encompassing, exhilarating, and idiosyncratic process of creation.”