Tom Castle

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River Effra

Spring 2016
Plaque Design

Unbeknown to probably the vast majority of south Londoners, there was, many decades ago, a sabstantial river that meandered it's course from the most southern point of what is now Lambeth, all the way into the Thames at Vauxhall. And further still, most do not know that this river still flows; however, its has since become a part of the sewage system thanks to a Mr Bazalgette in the mid 1800's.

Lambeth Council wished to highlight this Thames-tributery by placeing a number of floor plaques along the river's course. This work was completed while at Atelier.

To begin with we found a local illustrator and asked them to explore and represent water in as many ways as possible within a circular space.

A collections of the original drawings by the local illustrator.

These drawings were then bought into illustrator and digitised, neated and retouched to help make each seem part of its own.

Type was added around the outer edge, with Albertus being chosen for its traditional sculputed feel, which suggests Effra's current man-made course. Additionally, Bethold Wolpe, the designer of Albertus, lived and worked in the Lambeth area.

The final designs ready to go to the forge.

These files were then extrapolated by the forge ready for an impression to be produced.

The CAD drawing ready for the CNC machine.

The plaques were made in cast iron, so that, over time, they would begin to rust, collect dirt, and generally age so that they look not too dissimilar in colour and texture to manhole covers of the Victorian period.

The first set of plaques were installed in at Canterbury Square in Brixton in July 2016 and have already begun to age.

A plaque in situe at Canterbury Square, Brixton.

Another plaque in the same location.

And another.

A close up of the lettering on a finished plaque.