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Hot property in the Old Vinyl Factory

The Boiler House is a residential development in Hayes, West London, comprising of studio, 1 & 2 bedroom apartments. Originally part of The Old Vinyl Factory, it’s where genre defining records by The Beatles, Pink Floyd and many more of the greats were pressed and distributed. The footprint of the building was once the location for a Boiler House which heated the entire complex. Designed by Studio Egret West, The ‘new’ Boiler House pays tribute to the chimneys that stood before it, visible in it’s tapering facades. Despite the industrial appearance, the design is playful. Bold elements such as a bright orange exterior staircase contrast against the metallic shingles. Its exterior successfully conceals the fact that the entire structure is made from wood.

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In developing The Boiler House brand identity, Squint/Opera were challenged to unite seemingly conflicting aims: to celebrate the industrial heritage, whilst promoting the livability  of the scheme. Our journey began with the notion that The Boiler House brand should mimic its the building’s original function; to ‘warm up’ the neighbourhood. Any further musical themed developments in the Vinyl Factory ran the risk of sounding like a broken record. So, inspired by Le Courbousier’s famous adage, “A house is a machine for living”,  we juxtaposed the tough industrial exterior with the soft wooden centre of the building, and came up with the idea of a ‘soft machine’, for living.

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Central to our work was a tileable illustration conveying a blend between machine parts, household objects and people. We designed a cast of colourful characters to inhabit the building. These characters are depicted ‘using and misusing the space’: they practice yoga in the living room, play the trumpet on conveyor belts, and cycle inside with no hands down the corridor. They help to tell the story of the building being an inclusive and welcoming place which encourages passions, creativity and social lives. The different and sometimes surreal scenarios represent the endless possibilities of living in The Boiler House. The illustration was used as a graphic asset for all the brand collateral we produced, from brochures, ads and for the hoarding around the perimeter of the development.

The soft machine theme continued with the logo in which each line of type is placed within a piston of a moving machine. These three pistons slide from side to side allowing multiple configurations depending on the application. The tagline, ‘How living works’, intends to emphasise the values of practical design, but combine with the striking illustration to show how living is much more than that.

The brand has remained prominent since the launch of The Boiler House, with the logo displayed on the exterior orange staircase and milled into the wood in the entrance Lobby.  It has achieved success in marketing the development which has very nearly sold out.

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