What was the inspiration behind the design? Did the design go through a number of iterations before you settled on the final route?
CP: The true inspiration came from the staff and leadership – their passion, knowledge and sheer love for the building. We anticipated a stepping stone level of development; their former brand produced ten years ago had performed well and became the springboard for many new ideas. However, we needed to adopt a new identity protecting the integrity of the early years while looking ahead towards the next 80 years – creating a brand that connected with an incredibly diverse audience, from the local skateboarders to the critically engaged. We did a lot of scoping; numerous questions were asked. Within the studio we created many variants upon a theme but showed one final solution, in which we were confident. Ultimately, the building and Ivan Chermayeff’s 80th logo were instrumental in the end result – it tells a story.
JN: Like Clare, I was expecting a more modest change, but our audit and research led us to the need for more visual focus, and typography and colours more in line with 1930s Modernism, rather than being just vaguely ‘modern’. Looking back to the Bauhaus, and how it translated across to the UK and on to America was helpful to our thinking. Continental Modernism was pretty radical and it became something a little different when it hit our shores. I think the building of the De La Warr represented another kind of continental invasion close to Hastings some 800 years after the Normans.
The building is very much part of DLWP’s identity – how did you incorporate that, and did it prove at all problematic?
CP: The building expresses it geometry - there are circles everywhere. We felt DLWP needed to take more ownership of that distinctively Modernist geometry, something that has been truly theirs since 1935 – the first Modernist, pioneering public building of its time. (Do watch the anniversary film made by a DLWP staff member, James Cosens). The typography came from the true Grotesque inspirations of its time. We selected a typeface that could perform across all media and, after a lot of research, we found a Grotesque that we felt not only built on their previous brand, but also allowed a move forward without restrictions. The typeface is Galano.
JN: The building was the primary influence all along. We needed something that allowed the architecture and space to speak, not a graphic interpretation of it. Picking out an aspect that was quintessential, not invented, that was the key, echoing both the lightness and the boldness of the building. It’s quite a responsible task – we felt the weight of history.