Tate Liverpool opened on Albert Dock in 1988. The gallery is housed in a Grade 1 listed warehouse building converted by James Stirling. In the intervening years, Albert Dock has become increasing populated with museums and cultural attractions all vying for attention and the presence of Tate Liverpool on the waterfront has gradually diminished.
In 2014 Tate Liverpool commissioned Cartlidge Levene to review their external wayfinding. The focus of the brief was to enhance visibility from a distance and to mark the main entrance to the museum in the waterfront colonnade.
Our solution was the introduction of two primary sign elements: large scale painted lettering on the building exterior and an illuminated ‘typographic chandelier’ centred in the vaulted arch above the main entrance.
The painted lettering is reminiscent of Victorian dockside signage and is applied to two of the Grade 1 listed brick elevations. One faces the north and can be seen from the main road at the entrance to Albert Dock.
The other faces the waterfront and its position defines the southern boundary of the gallery. The position and application of the lettering was carefully considered in consultation with English Heritage and it is applied in such a way that can be removed without any damage or trace left on the brickwork.
The typographic chandelier, again, developed in consultation with English Heritage, acts as a marker for the main entrance in the colonnade. It can be seen from the primary eastern approach route to the gallery as well as the secondary approach from across the dock.
In addition to the introduction of the two primary signage elements, we also designed a new visual language for exhibition banners and rationalised the window graphics along the colonnaded elevation. We stripped back the layers of information that had accumulated over the years and created a simple, clear legible voice for all external graphic information at Tate Liverpool.