Blok Illuminated lettering, reflective vinyl and bespoke wall plates
BLOK gym cofounder, Max Oppenheim first contacted us to find a creative way to add illuminated letters to a precast concrete monolith sign he’d erected outside the Hearn Street location in East London – a small project that laid solid foundations for an ongoing relationship.
BLOK is a gym like no other. With only two London branches at this stage, Max is carefully crafting his work out empire from natural finish materials: using tempered steel and brutalist blocks to create raw spaces asking to be filled with energy.
At the Shoreditch branch, the air is diffused with coloured LED lighting and the galleries are dotted with art pieces made of stone, with a tremendous amount of thought put into the way the place feels, and makes people feel. It should come as no surprise then that Max is an award winning fine art photographer and his artistry is visible in every detail of the built environment, including the signage.
We were commissioned to add illuminated letters for Max’s monolith, and sometimes the tiniest tasks can be the trickiest! From a technical viewpoint, it can prove difficult to avoid getting ‘bright spots’ or ’spotting’ when adding illumination to something that’s so little in scale. With that in mind, we decided to embed opal acrylic letters with specially developed micro LEDs that don’t heat up, and therefore function very well in tight spaces, to achieve an even distribution of light.
The result is a sign that stands out whether it’s day or night. Max was so pleased with the high end spec that he asked us to turn our attention to other little details that could elevate the interior, without disrupting their client programmes.
With class schedules in mind, we set to work creating and installing custom signage for all the different zones at BLOK Shoreditch – starting with reflective vinyl lettering for the street facing windows and hashtag graphics for the studio mirrors.
Next up, we produced sliding letter squares for the retro cafe menu, acrylic wall plaques for the artworks in the corridors, and in house laser engraved plates made out of black anodised aluminium for the weight racks. Finally, we fitted the WCs with mirror graphics and bespoke poster frames for displaying upcoming events on the doors.
FAQs - BLOK
BLOK is a unique gym concept with locations in London, known for its raw, energy-filled spaces crafted from natural finish materials like tempered steel and brutalist blocks. The design, infused with coloured LED lighting and art pieces, reflects the sensibilities of its cofounder, Max Oppenheim, an award-winning fine art photographer.
Our first project at BLOK involved adding illuminated lettering to a precast concrete monolith sign outside their East London location. This small yet technical task was crucial in establishing our ongoing relationship with BLOK. The company felt our designs not only met but enhanced the visual and functional aspects of the environment and so called us back for more small touches around the Shoreditch branch.
Illuminating small lettering can be tricky due to potential bright spots or spotting. We tackled this by embedding opal acrylic letters with specially developed micro LEDs, ensuring even light distribution without excessive heat, perfect for the compact scale of the task.
The illuminated sign we installed provides standout visibility both day and night, enhancing BLOK's presence and aligning with its high-end specifications.
There are a few key things to think about when it comes to illuminated signage:
Durability and longevity - some signs clearly have a longer lifespan than others, while others signs might require you to weigh up the pros and cons of the materials they are made up of e.g the glass of neon signs is fragile but if well looked after will wear better than the acrylic tubes of LED neon, however neon signs eventually need to be refilled with gas while LEDs emit low levels of light for a very long time.
Colour - the fabrication materials of LED signs can be matched exactly to your brand colours, but the actual lights come in set colours - you can fade across the spectrum available although this may not offer the most striking colours. Neon gases come in core colours too, which can be altered to a certain extent by offsetting with different colour glass tubes. Impurities that exist within these tubes play a part in the chemical reaction between gas and electricity, which means the intensity and exactness of colour varies from neon sign to neon sign.
Size - is the size of your sign suitable for LEDs? It could be too small to have LEDs fit or even too large to do effectively. If you're getting a word or phrase built into a sign, consider how the length of it may impact lettering size and spacing.
Customisation - outside of those mentioned already, added considerations for customisation include whether or not you want your LED sign to flash or be dimmable, and to decide on if you'd like exposed wiring for your neon sign or prefer something that looks a little less industrial.
Voltage - different illuminated signs consume energy differently. Considering how brightly they glow, neon signs consume less power than you may think, using about the same amount of electricity as a single domestic light bulb if equipped with a 240v transformer. With that said, relatively speaking, LEDs consume far, far less. and are up to ten times more efficient.
Installation - with any illuminated sign, your choice of design should look ahead - considering ease of use in the future as well as what it will take to install the sign at implementation stage.
With some iterations of neon signs, especially those going straight onto a wall without any casing, individual pieces often have to be joined to each other with wiring. With all cases of neon, wires are usually left exposed but to make the magic happen, you will need to have an electrical connection to a power supply.
For LED signs, you'll want to hide the wiring for a clean finish. This will require the presence of your contractors who can advise on and have trap doors cut in advance of the installation. Where wiring cannot be hidden within the walls, alternatives can be considered to keep things looking neat, such as having the lettering mounted to a tray.
In this instance, beyond the illuminated sign, we created reflective vinyl lettering for the windows, hashtag graphics for studio mirrors, sliding letter squares for the cafe menu, acrylic wall plaques, laser-engraved plates for weight racks, mirror graphics, and bespoke poster frames for the WCs - none of which are really listed on our website! If you're working with us, we'll work with your needs wherever possible - just let us know what you're after.
We worked flexibly, popping in and out as required over a few months. This approach ensured minimal disruption to BLOK's client programmes, allowing us to seamlessly integrate our work with their ongoing operations.
Our work at BLOK Shoreditch significantly enhanced the gym's interior, adding thoughtful touches that complemented its unique aesthetic and functional needs. These custom solutions helped shape the gym's distinctive character.
Yes, you know it's a success when you're asked to collaborate again - our work at BLOK Shoreditch led to Max Oppenheim inviting us to contribute to the Clapton branch as well, a testament to the effectiveness and impact of our signage and interior detail solutions.
To begin a project with us, simply contact Glyphics for a consultation. We'll discuss your specific needs, vision and the unique aspects of your space to ensure our signage and design solutions perfectly align with your objectives and enhance your environment.