Category Archives: Signage

Hochiki Europe gets rave reviews at The Kenneth More Theatre


Kenneth More was one of the most famous actors of the 1950s and epitomised the ‘stiff upper lip’ British conviviality that we often associate with that era. A contemporary of John Mills, Trevor Howard and Jack Hawkins, at the height of his fame he was nation’s most popular film star and took leading roles in a string of box office hits including Doctor in the House, Reach for the Sky, Genevieve, and A Night to Remember.


Prior to his death in 1982 at the age of 67, he was one of the very few performers to have a theatre named after him, after Ilford opened The Kenneth More Theatre at the end of 1974. He made various appearances there, and over the years many other famous stars of stage and screen have also trodden its boards. Today, it hosts a variety of musicals, plays, concerts and pantomimes, and is a focal point of the local community.

Ensuring the safety of visitors is a top priority for the London Borough of Redbridge, which owns and maintains the building. The Kenneth More Theatre’s technical manager, Rob Mitchell-Gears, explains, ‘With 358 seats and additional wheelchair spaces, we need to ensure that we have systems in place that enable us to react appropriately in the event of a fire. In such circumstances a fast, effective and controlled evacuation is vital, which is why we rely on an emergency lighting system.’

Having been originally installed in the 1980s, The Kenneth More Theatre’s emergency lighting system was nearing the end of its life and Rob recognised that a new one was needed. After liaising with the London Borough of Redbridge, its long-standing life safety partner, Tann Synchronome, was asked to make its recommendations. Based in Monmouthshire, close to the Severn Bridge, the Tann Synchronome has a history dating back to the 1800s and currently has a large customer base across the UK, including a wide variety of public sector and blue chip clients.

‘We were called in by the London Borough of Redbridge who had carried out an audit of the existing infrastructure,’ comments Tann Synchronome’s managing director, Will Jones. ‘Like many installations of the 1980s, the emergency lighting system relied on a central battery system, which was becoming increasingly unreliable and needed replacing due to its age. What’s more, some of the luminaires were not as bright as those that are available today and we felt that a new system could improve this considerably.’

Having assessed what was required it didn’t take Will long to decide that Hochiki Europe’s FIREscape emergency lighting solution would tick all the boxes. He states, ‘I’ve been working with Hochiki Europe continuously for the last 13 years and I’ve never failed to be impressed with the quality, flexibility, reliability, ease-of-use and design excellence of its products. If there’s a better light emitting diode (LED) based emergency lighting system on the market I haven’t seen it.’

FIREscape is an EN50172 compliant intelligent low voltage system that comprises an addressable emergency lighting control panel with battery back-up, and features addressable, self-contained LED luminaires and signage connected via low voltage (40V) cabling. The luminaires and signage are also equipped with battery back-up, so that they will function in every situation, while the units fit directly onto a standard Hochiki Europe sensor base, making installation simple.

Hochiki Europe’s deputy marketing manager, Paul Adams, adds, ‘It is self-programmable and its control panel continuously monitors and tests the functionality of the system. It can also be pre-programmed to carry out specific monthly, six monthly and annual tests and the results can then be download from the control panel, alongside servicing and test schedules. This makes the system fully compliant with the requirements of BS 5266.’

Although the wiring also needed replacing, the team from Tann Synchronome was able to use the existing containment and wiring architecture. ‘The old cable was removed and the new cable was simply fed through the existing tubes, saving both money and time. It also meant that day-to-day activities could continue as normal –  something that was clearly appreciated by Rob Mitchell-Gears who said: ‘Due to the urgency of replacing the system, work was carried out whilst the building was in use with minimal disruption to us, which I was very impressed by’.

As with most entertainment venues, lighting must not detract attention from the performance and the installed FIREscape system has been configured with three modes. The first is an emergency mode, where lights are operated at maximum illumination if there is a power failure. Normal or maintained mode means that it can be used as part of the permanent lighting of the building in five different levels of illumination, to enhance the general ambiance of various areas of the building. Finally, in show mode specific lights are used at a lower level of illumination.

Due to its LED technology, the FIREscape system will also cut battery replacement costs, testing labour, recycling costs and general energy use. LED also has a long life and requires only one per cent of the bulb changes required with traditional lighting. If a luminaire does need replacing, in house personnel can carry out the operation due to extra low voltage at the device, cutting maintenance costs.

Tann Synchronome is currently carrying out a second phase of the project and adding additional luminaires to the system. The final word goes to Rob Mitchell-Gears, who concludes, ‘I’m incredibly impressed that FIREscape was able to address all of our needs and provide The Kenneth More Theatre with an emergency lighting solution that significantly enhances the safety of theatregoers and employees alike.’

For further information please contact Hochiki Europe on 01634 266566 or


3M finishes create shimmering colourful surface effects without the expense

Diversified technology company 3M has announced the launch of its innovative range of colour shift products, enabling designers, artists and architects to produce dazzling effects at a fraction of the cost of authentic dichroic glass or coloured acrylic panels. New Dichroic Film from 3M has been shown for the first time at 100% Design, the biggest design event of the year.

There is an ever growing demand for the use of dichroic glass in architecture for its ability to shroud interior spaces in multi-coloured brilliance. Its main characteristic is that it has a transmitted colour and a completely different reflective colour which shift and shimmer depending on the angle it is viewed from. Using dichroic glass can inspire freedom of expression and creativity but it can also add substantial cost to a project. Now, with 3M’s new range of high quality colour shift products, the same effects can be achieved simply and without major expense.

Dichroic Film from 3M is available in Chill and Blaze colours for application to glass, plastic or acrylic surfaces as a visual opaque or decorative graphic. The Chill products shift colours from the transmissive cool tones of blue, magenta and yellow to the reflective colours gold and blue. The Blaze products shift from the warm tones of cyan, blue and magenta to red and gold. The colours seen by the viewer – from either side of the glass surface – are influenced by the environment, lighting, viewing angle and mounting surface colour.


Depending on the application requirement, designers can opt for the film only version – DF-Chill and DF-Blaze – or the adhesive version – DF-A-Chill and DF-A-Blaze – which can also be printed on in order to incorporate logos or designs, if desired. Whereas these two products are recommended for plastic or acrylic surfaces only, the third product in the range – DF-PA Chill and DF-PA Blaze – is recommended for use on any smooth glass material. This film is not printable and features a pressure sensitive adhesive.

All products in the Dichroic Film range are simple to apply for a smooth, wrinkle-free and bubble-free finished surface, and are easy to clean with mild detergent, water and a soft cloth. They are highly durable for long-lasting vibrancy and, as and when design needs change, the film can be taken off without any damage to the original surface. The results are truly stunning and reveal the endless possibilities for transforming all manner of spaces such as entrances, storefronts, roof windows, partitions, glazing, skylights and curtain walls, as well as lighting fixtures and more.

For more information, email, call 0845 606388 or visit

Total Signage Solutions for the Education, Healthcare & Leisure sectors

Signlex works across all sectors to provide innovative signage solutions tailored for individuals clients, along with a stress-free personal service at competitive prices. The Company has specialist departments that work alongside Architects, Contractors, Developers, Designers and Marketing Teams in niche sectors to produce state-of-the-art signage solutions throughout the UK, showcasing brands with maximum impact and improving environments.

Over the last year the Company has completed several successful developments in the Education sector including: Sixth Form Colleges, Academies and Grammar SchoolsDudley College/Dudley Sixth Form, Oakfields Community College; Middlesbrough, Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School, Leeds East Academy, Lakes College; Workington, Watermill School and Ormiston Horizon; Stoke on Trent and Ormiston Venture; Great Yarmouth. Works are currently underway at King Edward V11 Academy; Sheldon Heath, Tibshelf College; Derbyshire, Staffordshire University Academy, Kingfisher School; Enfield and UTC; Sheffield and Reading.

On completed signage works, Jane Williams, Head of Strategic Marketing and PR at Dudley College said:

“Modern schools and colleges must now be able to compete and attract pupils & students and enhancing the students’ environment inspires them to achieve their ambitions. Our aim was to create an interesting and vibrant environment. With what Signlex produced for us it also adopts our strong branding identity and brings our buildings to life.”



Simon Belton, Managing Director of Signlex says: “New signage and graphics can completely transform a building. We work on both new builds and refurbishments to provide signage solutions that are not only right for our clients but also look fantastic, whilst informing and enhancing the overall environment. “I am proud of a track record providing total signage solutions, both internal and external signage and wall graphics that fit the client’s brief across the education, healthcare (including NHS & Bupa) and also the leisure sectors.”

To contact Signlex please email, quoting reference GP0913 or call 0113 350 7445. To view some of Signlex’s projects, visit or follow @Signlex on Twitter.

Townscape unveils new noticeboard range

TOWNSCAPE Products Limited has expanded its range of noticeboards for education facilities and public locations.

The new Townscape Collection 60 and Collection 65 noticeboards are manufactured in aluminum and are designed for both internal and external use.


Sustainably designed, the noticeboards can be top lit using solar power technology or standard back lit LED lighting using the very latest LED technology.

To blend into the existing environment the noticeboard cases are finished in any required powder coated RAL colour, sliver, or stainless steel anodised. The noticeboards also feature toughened glass covers and are made with a magnetic steel backplate for multiple notices and graphics, polycarbonate covers can also be supplied if required.

Jonathan Goss, managing director of Townscape, said: “We are always looking to add to our range of street furniture and these new environmentally friendly and robust noticeboards are ideal for schools, colleges and universities as well as town centres, retail facilities, parks and outdoor areas.

“They are durable, weatherproof and vandal proof and are available in a wide range of standard and custom sizes. Both collections provide a solution suitable for a range of budgets.”

The Townscape Collection 65 noticeboards can be used for multiple notices or for a single graphic display and are available with side hinge and face locks or top hinged with gas cylinders with security locks underneath the frame. They can be wall mounted or post mounted in single or double sided options.

The Townscape Collection 60 is the budget option and is available in five standard sizes and finished in sliver anodized aluminum.

For more information on Townscape’s new range of noticeboards please call: 01623 513355

Signbox relaunch their e-shop with a totally new look website

Signbox, one of the UK’s foremost sign manufacturers and winner of the coveted ‘Best Sign Company of the Year’ award for both 2011 and 2012, have re-launched their e-commerce website to improve the visitor experience and extend the product offer.

Signbox have successfully positioned themselves as a single point resource providing consultancy, signage strategy, design, manufacture, project management and installation. Part of their portfolio of services is the e-shop to provide customers with ‘off-the-shelf’ signage available with a quick turnaround, typically within a few days from placement of order. Signbox took the view from the outset however that ready-made workplace signs do not have to be utilitarian and purely functional – all the products featured including display, health & safety, desk and door, fire escape, paper insert and wayfinding are high quality and aesthetically pleasing, designed to complement the quality of a customer’s own working environment.

Commenting on the relaunch of the e-shop website, Mark Bartlett, Managing Director of Signbox, said, “The new e-shop website is not just a make-over but a totally new site with a striking design that nonetheless has put a premium on simplicity of use.

“Finding the right ‘off the shelf’ workplace signs using the new website could not be easier. We also believe that customers will recognise instantly that what we offer are superior quality workplace signs yet at highly affordable prices”.

The website features a completely new style of fire exit sign, part of a range of safety signs that are EN 7010 compliant. EN 7010 European legislation is currently being adopted by all member states. When EN 7010 comes into effect, any safety signage installed in new projects in workplaces and public areas that do not comply will be illegal.

To see the new look website and the new safety signs visit the Signbox e-shop at:


To complement the clean and aesthetic lines of lighting luminaires – now prevalent and highly visible in high-tech minimalist buildings – Gripple has come up with an equally sophisticated and attractive suspension solution – the Squeezelock.

Launched by the inventor of revolutionary suspension systems with numerous functional benefits, the new Squeezelock – a sleek, streamlined ‘barrel’ with a bright plated finish – is designed to suspend all lighting and signage accurately, with a 5:1 safety factor and a 15kg load rating.


The Squeezelock’s finger-friendly adjustment feature on its side allows easy, one-handed squeeze movement up or down wire rope, with no tool required. 

Squeezelocks come as part of ready-to-use kits also comprising 1.50mm shiny galvanized wire rope in lengths up to 10m and a ceiling fixing chosen from nine options, including a loop, snap hook and eyelet. Standard kits can be screwed onto T-Bar twist clips or directly into soffits.

The unit’s wire exit points enable central, single side, and even dual fixing for balance when the Gripple Y-Fit is used. A hook can also be screwed into the Squeezelock’s base for secure signage suspension.

This year Sheffield-based Gripple secured a fourth Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the company’s second time for innovation!

More technical details about Gripple’s innovative Squeezelock are available at

Energy efficient LED emergency lighting serves a dual purpose

The carbon footprint for the NHS England now stands at a massive 21 million tonnes a year. To address this The Department of Health has set an ambitious target of a 10 per cent reduction by 2015 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050.


Lighting accounts for anywhere between 10-20 per cent of a hospital’s total energy bill and when set against a backdrop of increasing fuel costs, reducing expenditure on this resource can appear to be an insurmountable task. However, the introduction and innovative use of light emitting diode (LED) emergency lighting has already resulted in significant savings for some forward thinking health estate managers.

Correctly specified, installed and maintained emergency lighting plays a vital role in keeping the occupants of a building safe from the potentially deadly consequences of a failure in the general lighting. While a traditional system is often just left in ‘standby’ mode until it is needed, the flexibility of a modern LED based system means that it can also be used as a secondary source of lighting – one that is far more cost effective than using the mains equivalent.


LED luminaires produce less than five per cent of the carbon emissions of fluorescent lighting and this allows operating costs to be kept to a minimum without compromising efficiency. They also operate via functional extra low voltage (FELV) power, meaning that a mains electricity supply does not have to be run to every luminaire, which vastly reduces the amount of wiring associated with 230V cabling.


As well as energy efficiency, an LED emergency lighting system offers enhanced levels of control. At particular times of the day when certain areas may have a much lower footfall, it can be used to provide general lighting via one of seven different levels of illumination.  As each luminaire can be controlled independently, areas of a building can be lit where and when necessary, for example, residents in a care home can have low-level lighting overnight in their rooms.

The use of low-level lighting can also enhance security, giving the impression that areas that are in fact closed are occupied. It is also possible to have a separate switch so that the emergency lighting system can be activated to provide light at a pre-determined level to assist manned security patrols.


While lighting can be controlled via timers and light levels configured to suit particular requirements, in the event of an alarm situation the system will resort back to its primary use and adjust the light levels accordingly.

Although reducing energy consumption is a formidable challenge, the savings possible by using LED based emergency lighting are significant and can go long way in helping healthcare estate managers achieve their carbon reduction targets.

For further information please contact Hochiki Europe on 01634 266569, email: or visit

Sussex artist teams up with students and leading UK sign manufacturer to develop the signage and wayfinding scheme for two new schools


When Lewes, Sussex based artist Will Nash was commissioned by Impact Art and West Sussex County Council to develop a ‘welcome’ and wayfinding signage scheme for the campus of two new schools – Southway Primary and The Regis School in Bognor Regis – he decided to take a fresh approach.  Working in collaboration with students from the two schools and Signbox Ltd, the UK’s leading wayfinding sign manufacturers, Nash was able to develop a scheme that spans from tiny enamel door signs, through environmental graphics and wayfinding, to the two steel chevron sculptures that stand in front of each school, the largest of which weighs over two tons.

Speaking about his approach to delivering his vision for the project, Will Nash commented, “As an artist working in public spaces, my work necessarily involves collaboration with all kinds of contractors and suppliers; Signbox were totally enthusiastic and fully committed right from the start and shared my passion for detail and quality of finish”.

The wayfinding theme chosen was centred on the way in which people orient themselves in physical spaces and navigate from place to place.  The project brief stipulated that the results, in and around the two schools, must reflect the difference in scale and user, yet share a common thread.  Furthermore it should consider the specific needs, context and age ranges within the two new school buildings and develop appropriate work in consultation with the two schools and their wider communities.

The chosen common thread was an arrow shape, woven through the sculptures and signs; it is consistently used from the main entrance signs, pictograms, room numbers, area / year identity graphics and murals together with direction signs across the entire campus.  Nash added, “The arrow was the right motif for the project because it echoed an ancient flint arrowhead discovered on the site during construction”.


Nash’s inspirational vision for the wayfinding sign design was a critical element to the overall success of the project, enriching the lives of the students, residents and the local community.  Signbox were able to translate this vision for the scheme into a practical modular sign system to meet both aesthetic and durability requirements within a busy working school environment.  Signbox also provide accessible, DDA-compliant signs for educational institutions, with a number of specialist processes that include information display in tactile and Braille formats.  To find out more visit Signbox website at


Drawing on architectural and engineering experience, Signbox develops high quality, sustainable and fully compliant signs for the built environment.  Signbox is an innovative company creating future-proof products for a wide range of market sectors, including corporate, education, healthcare, retail, hotel and leisure.  As a single-point resource Signbox offers consultancy, signage strategy, design, manufacture, project management and installation.