Oxford House, Bethnal Green
A project with Simon Leach Design
Grade II Listed Building
Architecture by Dannatt Johnson Architects
Graphic production LTD Limited
Photos show onsite work in progress
Oxford House is a hub for community, social enterprise, arts and heritage at the heart of London’s East End. It was originally built in 1884 as one of the first University Settlement Houses (see also Toynbee Hall), where graduates from Oxford University undertook a period of residential volunteering, providing practical support to alleviate the impact of poverty on the local community. Graduate residents (as they were known) provided adult education classes, labour exchanges, youth clubs and legal advice. It was part of the mid-Victorian, Anglo-Catholic, philanthrophic social movement.
We were appointed in late 2018 as interpretation designers, commissioned to uncover and re-present their heritage, and to shine a light on the role theyhave played in the local community over the past 130 years. This led us to create a series of tableaus and interventions that inhabit the inbetween spaces throughout the building – revealing stories and sowing seeds of thought for people as they go about their daily activities. We designed bespoke typographic glazing manifestations and image-led compositions of framed archive material. Alongside the interpretation we also designed new signage and a wayfinding scheme encompassing six floors accessed by two stair cores. The design utilised a specially chosen type and colour scheme to compliment the heritage interpretation design.