traversing wall, barry island, UK by gordon young
all photos by josh young



as part of the barry island’s eastern promenade regeneration gordon young designed a 40 metre long typographic traversing wall. the giant letters consist of over 4000 seaside themed shapes cut from colorful recycled plastic. these are combined with 1000 specialist ‘novelty’ climbing holds (fossils, fruit, dinosaurs, letters, etc). keywords significant to barry island are also hidden in the mix.


the welsh and english text that reads ‘ynys barry – barry island’ transforms a concrete wall into an interactive landmark that will attract visitors and climbers to a previously neglected corner of the seafront. the piece was created with designer josh young, climber rob larney and the barry island history group.


read designboom’s interview with gordon young »


the 40 metre long typographic wall contains 4000 recycled plastic climbing holds



‘I had been looking at ways to use recycled plastics for a while and it worked well for this – it’s affordable, colorful and resilient against salt water. it’s a material we have so much of, but often don’t really know what to do with, and I think it could be used a lot more.’ gordon young told creative review.


the climbs are configured for all ages and standards, it is possible to climb up and down individual letters but also traverse the wall’s entire length.



the recycled holds are combined with 1000 specialist ‘novelty’ climbing holds (fossils, fruit, dinosaurs, letters, etc) as well as hidden words related to local themes.



the work can be read from the beach and promenade but also from planes coming into land at cardiff airport.


project credits
research: barry island history group
typography and illustration: part-two
production: sawyerworks
climb routes: rob larney
installation: joseph bradley builders
client: vale of glamorgan council and celfwaith


via creative review