Holiday cheer

Urban place making through signage

As we reported recently, Southpace Properties won approval to install a large, illuminated projecting sign at their downtown location on Richard Arrington Blvd. North and Third Avenue. It just went up. A great addition to the urban streetscape, and a harbinger, we hope, of better times for commercial real estate here and around the country.

Thanks Southpace!

POSTSCRIPT: not there yet, but one of our readers pointed out that this type of large, neon sign is reminiscent of the type of signage you see on Shanghai’s famous shopping street, Nanjing Road. I’ve been there, and it’s indeed amazing at night. A shot below:

Neon writ large

10 responses to “Holiday cheer

  1. Awesome. I hope more signs like this are approved. It’s one thing I don’t like about the 20th St Green project (I think I’m correct about that one)…

  2. I saw that the other night. Very handsome sign. I wish John’s Restaurant had turned their sign on at the same time so you could see them both as you drive up Richard Arrington, Jr Boulevard North.

  3. OK, but a word of caution: Would you want projecting signs along that beautiful terra cotta-clad base of the Massey Building visible on the left? How do you strike a balance between animation and visual clutter?

    • Ideally the Design Review Committee would be aware of context, historic precedent, and existing architectural detailing to approve or deny signage. In the end, of course, one man’s animation is another man’s visual clutter, and it’s hard to be purely objective. So we indeed need to be as thoughtful as we can. Thanks.

  4. By your standards, the Ashley Furniture sign near Galleria is true art that adds to the quality of the environment —– what exciting environmental suggestions do you have for the Botanical Garden, Railroad Park and Oak Mountain?

    • Actually, signage is all about context. The new Southpace sign is modeled after the original projecting sign that was on this building in the 1920’s, scaled both for pedestrian and street traffic. It relates well to the plain facade of the building, and enhances it. Signage out by the Galleria tends to relate only to auto traffic, and to have little relationship to the building; buildings out there are mainly boxes with punched openings. Projecting signage is a fundamental element of any successful urban environment–and the area of Railroad Park will hopefully be filled with thoughtful, well-designed and located signage. Needless to say it has no place in a non-urban environment such as botanical gardens or nature preserves. Thanks for your comment.

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