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The Westminster, Colorado-based World Sign Associates, an industry membership organization, announces the winners of its 2017 Coolness Competition.
Contest entries consisted of the most innovative electrical signs produced during the past 12 months by the WSA’s nearly 200 member companies. Its membership then voted on the winners.
Best In Show: Giant Leaf Canopy Sculptures
Broomfield, Colorado-based BSC Signs was honored with “Best In Show” for its Littleton (Co.) Village Public Art Project, two imaginative 3D leaf canopy structures designed by Norris Design of Denver with assistance from BSC. The structures, which weigh 11,000 pounds each, were done for Littleton Village, a 77- acre residential development.
According to the WSA’s announcement, the architect, structural engineer and sign designer collaborated through 3D models to create two sculptures featuring 24-foot central poles that support three leaves, the largest being 27’ x 18’ feet and all with compound curves. The leaves are painted in natural colors and have a central area of perforated metal. The largest leaves were built in two pieces to fit under highway overpasses and clear other obstacles during transport. A set of festoon poles supports lanterns for festivals and other events. Each leaf canopy was installed on-site over two days, with help from a commercial crane operator.
Visible by Land and Air
The winner in the “Freestanding 100-Square-Feet-or-Larger” category was Carnegie, Pennsylvania-based Shamrock Signs. The company won for the sign it built for Covestro’s North American headquarters near Pittsburgh. The sign, measuring 48’ in diameter, can be seen easily from the highway and also by aircraft landing at Pittsburgh International Airport.
Built in four sections, this award-winning sign is supported by 8”-square steel pipes, fabricated to gradually curve to 90 degrees. The 6’ letters stand at 90 degrees from the hillside, while the ring is laid back to 35 degrees. Originally created via computer, the pole layout and spacing were transferred to the site using stakes and string. The installation took two weeks.
The sign replicates Covestro’s trademarked color ring day and night through RGB LEDs programmed to mimic the spectrum fade pattern. The ring’s faces are 1⁄2”-thick clear polycarbonate with a digital print applied to the second surface. The letters are illuminated with white LEDs.
A Sign That Appears to Be Part of the Building
Eugene, Oregon-based Image King Signs took first place in the “Less-Than-100-Square-Feet-Freestanding” category for its innovative Timbers Inn sign. Combining multiple elements, the sign creates the illusion that it extends through the eave and onto the roof. A double-faced aluminum cabinet with translucent metallic silver vinyl pin-striping also features a halo-lit pan, open-face neon channel letters, reverse halo-lit trees, and vinyl graphics and a decorative pole cover.
Below the roofline, Image King Signs developed an angled pole cover that filled the gap between the roofline and sign, and then extended down below the eave to the ground. The cover masked an unattractive recycled pole, resulting in a sign that appeared as though it had always been there.
Above the roofline, the sign’s asymmetrical shape contours to the roofline. To enable the sign to hug the contours of the textured rock below the eave, the manufacturing team created a tool to roll along the rock and mark the pole. The pole cover was then hand cut with a jigsaw before painting. The sign looks like it’s part of the building structure.
Incidentally, Shamrock Signs finished second in this category, with a 30’ sign it built for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League.
A Miniature Marquee in the Middle of a Major Airport
Portland, Oregon-based Security Signs swept the “Wall Sign” category by creating a miniature replica marquee of the historic Hollywood Theatre inside the Portland International Airport. It was a challenging project, as Security Signs had to overcome reducing the overall sign dimensions, solving issues with the engineering attachment connectors and, of course, the general difficulties of doing business in an airport.
Sized down 30 percent to just over 31 feet wide, the replica marquee included one-inch candelabra sockets for smaller LEDs and 12mm neon. The 1,600-pound sign was fabricated in six sections to include custom turnbuckles and an I-beam shim and then lifted into place via heavy-duty handcranks. Security Signs coordinated with the Port of Portland, TSA, structural engineers and the general contractor during the installation to comply with security clearances and assure minimal disruption to airport passengers.