Posts Tagged 'shop fronts'


Another shop that we spoke to after speaking at a local traders association meeting.



We had never been in the shop before and it’s rather beautiful with lots of original features. I’d implore anyone living in Sydenham to pop in and have a look, it’s an absolute local treasure.

The outside doesn’t really do it justice. The shop front is nice with a traditional awning. It’s actually two shops in one.

Making the shop front calmer and making it feel like it’s been around a long time while acting as a frame for the window displays also makes the shop name stand out. For the trophy signage this would look great if gilt and engraved. The awning is a great opportunity to show that there are two shops in one, which is why it has the large ampersand.

So from purple to sophisticated shop with original features. What if…

UPDATE: you can read more feedback on the SYDENHAM TOWN FORUM.


We were approached by the owners of Barakah after giving a talk at a local traders group to look at their shop front.


We got one of their mailers through the door a long time ago and were seduced by it’s uncoated paper and smart black and orange livery. It felt quality, something rather different to the usual glossy, over complicated rubbish that falls through our letterbox. We kept the menu and when the food turned up we were pleased to note that the quality of the food matched the expectation.

It was some while later when we realised that the place we were ordering from was a 5 minute walk from our front door and looked nothing like any of the marketing material that they were sending out.

So the job here would be simple. Make their shop look like the brand they send out to thousands of homes in the area and make it reflect the surprisingly good quality food that they send out. So we have used their logo and colours.

A bit of black paint, a re-skinned light box in black and orange and some new window vinyls and black brick tiles to tidy up the stall risers can make a huge difference.

Before it looked tired and didn’t match their brand. But What If…

If you haven’t tried them, give them a go:

UPDATE: you can read more feedback here on the SYDENHAM FORUM.


Saturday saw the launch of the pop up shops in Sydenham, Kirkdale and Forest Hill.

We have been helping with the design of the signage, all of which was done on a shoestring budget. The letters came to £145 fixed onto a marine ply backboard and then painted black. As will all shops, it has the number (it drives us mad when shops don’t do this!).

This is the ‘Jill’ hub (originally there were to be 3 ‘hubs’, we suggested they be called Tom, Dick & Harry, but when three became two they changed to Jack & Jill… with Jack further up the hill in Forest Hill).

This is the before:

This is the design visual:

This is the installed sign:
JILL AFTER (finished)
(there is still a bit of painting to do!)

There is a lot going on in Forest Hill and Sydenham at the moment. Check out for more details.

The Jill sign was installed by Rushworth Carpentry


This use to be a carpet shop.

Then, a number of years ago, it opened as the Pukka Bar, an upmarket indian restaurant. It had a refit that cost £250,000 but really opened in Sydenham about a year early before the gastro pub and cafes opened. It lasted 6 months (the place inside is vast). The interior refit is of a very high quality and remains. The pub that took over from the Pukka bar doesn’t.

We hope the interior will remain, but if the pub is going to be renovated or left, why leave it like this:

What if:

A simple printed hoarding. The door would be indicated by the dotted line.

Obviously this is a transferable design. Whoever is taking over the property can announce it on the stamp on the front of the box.

Have a look at the other What If’s on empty shops here:


Lots of people hated the gramatical error in the name of this pub. We found it rather charming. Which isn’t what can be said about the pub or the building which wasn’t the nicest place to be. Which may be one reason why it’s now closed.

But thats’ still no excuse to leave it in a state. It’s not making the building any more attractive.
It currently looks like this:

But What If:

Here is a close up.

If we get to do it we will work on it a little more and make it look like everyone is enjoying a drink.

This is a simple ‘street art project’, the wooden windows would be stencilled with the famous faces as if they are enjoying a drink in the bar.

More to come…


This is another idea for the empty buildings by Sydenham Station that currently look like this:

But what if:

The vending machines etc would be working which would add a bit of interaction to a building that hasn’t interacted with the public for years. The backboard would be made of planks, hidden doors could be made if access to the building is needed. The type is signwritten on the wood except the sign at the top which would be individually cut letters.

It could easily be adapted to other sites, to different types of shops and be a lot of fun.

See also the previous version

Trumpet Blowing

Image from Creative Commons on Wikipedia.

The What If Sydenham project has gained a fair amount of exposure around the world since we started it a few years ago. Aside from the Sydenham Forum where we have posted all of the What If Projects, it’s appeared all over the internet.

Here are a few links.
Aside from a mention on the Guardians website,
the project has also appeared here: Continue reading ‘Trumpet Blowing’


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