The “Dazzling” Thames Tideway Project

Client: Tideway
Sector: Construction, Outdoor Media
Services: Install, Print

Over the years, PressOn have worked with a large number of firms and contractors to help transform their construction site hoardings from dull, static boards into eye-catching advertisements or beautifully designed works of art.

It’s not often, however, that we get to work on a project quite as prestigious as the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Working with Tideway – the company building London’s new ‘super sewer’ – PressOn produced a series of impressive graphics for the construction project’s site hoardings, along with vinyl wraps to rebrand the tunnel boring machines used on the project.

The Thames Tideway Tunnel:

The Thames is one of the most iconic rivers in the world – but despite its cultural legacy, it has something of a ‘dirty secret’, too. The sewer system in London can’t keep up with our modern lifestyles, spilling tens of millions of tonnes of waste into river every year.

Tideway, an organisation comprised of over 400 experienced professionals, has designed a solution to fix one of the most significant challenges to the river’s ecology in several hundred years: A new 25 kilometre tunnel running through West London to Limehouse, ending near Stratford, will handle the interception, storage, and transfer of waste from the sewer.

The project will rectify a problem that’s been building for years, and ensure the capital’s sewer system remains clean, hygienic, and functional – for at least the next 100 years.

Kirtling street Tideway hoardings

Printing The ‘Dazzling’ Hoarding graphics

As with any construction works, hoardings are required to ensure public safety at the multiple sites involved in the project. Rather than leave these blank, Tideway wanted to ensure steps were taken to help integrate their construction works into the local community – and minimise their impact as much as possible.

The Challenge

The Tideway Tunnel project is a huge undertaking – with 24 sites across London, which will change size and shape regularly as the work progresses. As such, the major challenges for the design of the hoarding graphics were as follows:

  • The graphics had to be easily interchangeable, without the need for extensive reprinting.
  • The hoardings had to take into account the local surroundings in order to receive approval from respective Borough Councils
  • The Designs had to minimise impact on the local environments; they couldn’t be aesthetically displeasing, or visually juxtaposed with their surroundings.

The solution

Factoring in all of the necessary criteria, Tideway drafted a design for the graphics using an urban ‘dazzle camouflage’ pattern, taking inspiration from PressOn’s Dazzle Ship project from 2014 – this jagged pattern blends into the local environment, by implementing colours and shades taken from a sample palette of the surrounding area, which reduces the contrast between the hoardings and the peripheral urban landscape.

The non-linear style of the graphics also means that as site boundaries change, sections of the hoarding can be moved easily, without the need for large-scale reprinting or the redesign of sections of the hoardings – each set of panels can be interchanged seamlessly.

PressOn printed and laminated a total of 622 linear metres of vinyl on our HP Latex 3500, which was mounted to 3mm aluminium composite material (ACM) sheets. The heights of the hoardings ranged from 2.44m to 3.66m, which varied across the 8 total sites.

From the moment PressOn received the artwork to the final installation, the turnaround for each site was less than a week.

Tideway tunnel boring machines

Making the Boring Machines Less ‘Boring’:

While the hoarding graphics were a central part of PressOn’s work with Tideway, we also had the opportunity to print something a little more unusual.

The project requires the use of multiple large tunnel drilling machines, and true to their name, these ‘boring’ machines aren’t particularly fun to look at – and as tradition decrees, they also all need a name.

Tideway ran a competition proposing a selection of iconic and inspiring women of London from throughout history, and 24,000 votes later, the people had spoken and the names had been chosen – the only challenge then was rebranding the machines.

PressOn printed a series of graphics onto polymeric self-adhesive vinyl, protected with a gloss overlaminate. The graphics were then either profile or kiss cut on our Kongsberg machine, and were weeded out by hand.

The final challenge was actually adhering them to the machines which, as you can see below, are curved – presenting a unique installation challenge.

Thankfully our expert installers were more than equipped to meet this challenge, and a mere 2 days in a MEWP machine later, the graphics – which will last for well over a year – were fitted perfectly, and Millicent and Ursula were born.

Scroll down for more images of the project!


To find out more about the hoarding graphic printing and installation we offer, take a look at our Hoarding Graphics page, and for more about Tideway, head to

Tideway at Kirtling street Thames Tideway construction Tideway Kirtling street construction hoardings Hoardings for the Tideway construction sites Tideway Tunnel boring machine Millicent Tideway Ursula Tideway Ursula
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