Designing the navigation of a place is fascinating and more than just pointing out a direction. A spatial problem solving activity, finding the way impacts significantly on how people respond emotionally to the place. Getting lost, finding signage information confusing or inadequate gives rise to frustration and negative impressions of a place, so it’s important to get it right. Not only serving to point people in the desired direction, marking the way has potential for adding extra dimensions, revealing connections with the past, assisting in the wider exploration of the environment. Way-finder objects can be sculptural and distinctive pieces of street furniture that add quality.
Templar’s Green, Witham, for Bloor Homes
The Templar’s Green development, by Bloor Homes, in Witham, has way-finders designed by Tim Ward (Circling the Square). Part of a series of pieces, the enamelled flower symbolizes the market and importance of agriculture to the area. Set at an accessible height and to facilitate use of the new pedestrian and cycle path from Maldon Road through the development to the public open space, the way-finders have a map and snippets of information about the area on one side and the name of the development and flower symbol on the other. The development will be completed in the next six months when the final pieces will be installed and the new route opened.
The development is situated on the site of the old market in Witham. Historically, King Stephen gave the manor at Witham to the Knights Templar and later, in 1153-54, a market at Witham was added to the lands belonging to the Temple at Cressing, now called Cressing Temple. The way-finders and other pieces of public art to be installed help to locate the development as a distinctive area within the context of Witham as it is today, encouraging exploration of the site and making the public open space more accessible to the wider community.