Colchester’s Lion Walk Set to Roar

Historic Lion Walk aims to attract more shoppers with new wayfinding design by award winning company f.r.a.

Lion Walk, situated in the heart of Colchester off the City’s main high street, has been a shopping destination for over 50 years with a mix of independent, local, and high street brands. Following a brand refresh, f.r.a. were appointed by Lambert Smith Hampton as wayfinding designers to help encourage and guide visitors into the centre.

One of the main entry points into Lion Walk is via a beautiful timber framed outdoor walkway which runs through the Red Lion hotel, a fifteenth century Grade 1 listed coaching Inn.  To highlight this entrance, f.r.a. created impactful signage featuring a new brand identity designed by DS Emotion and installed dramatic lighting that highlights its location, drawing people in as darkness fell.

“We wanted to create a sense of place, of arrival and contextualise Lion Walk with the fabric of the City centre, its nearby landmarks and architectural language,” said Wesley Meyer, Creative Director at f.r.a. adding, “our design approach is also mindful of the challenges of post pandemic retail and so tenant directories are enabled to be easily updated quickly and cost effectively”.

Roman ruins were recently uncovered beneath the Lion Walk site, amongst them a mosaic depicting a lion.  This previously hidden feature, along with comments gathered from the local community, influenced a co-created poem by Beth Calverley whom f.r.a. commissioned having worked together previously on another project.  f.r.a. then typeset passages of the poem and designed a series of projectors to display excerpts on the ground of the walkway through the Red Lion’s listed building. 

“We engaged with planners early in the process and worked with them to secure approval for the piece. It’s a tasteful and attention-grabbing result without harming the fabric of the protected building”, adds Jamie Trippier, f.r.a.’s Project Director. 


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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