Leftbank has come a long, long way. After a good 30 months of attention, the building officially opened its doors a couple weeks back to much fanfare and hullabaloo. I’ve had the opportunity to do a bit of just about everything on the project, but one role unanticipated in the beginning is that of the ‘sign guy’. It began last year with an unforgettable (though occasionally unreadable) leasing ‘installation’, and segued into building signage thereafter. One apparent success was the simple, white vinyl ‘leftbank’ above the door. More recently, the focus has been inside with a collaboration w/Justin Gorman for the super-hot directories and general directional signage. All told, it’s been a side show to the more demanding design, vision or dumb logistical aspects of the project, but a welcome one side show, for sure.
Of all of ‘em, I think I take the most pride in the signs I just made for the aforementioned opening… Signs intended to guide people through the building, giving them basic information about things that make leftbank unique, spaces that are available, and tenants already contributing to the community. It was an enjoyable project for two reasons: one is that it pulled from so many things I’ve been intimately involved with, a chance to recap and retell the story for folks unaware. The other is a bit more simple – it allowed me to get my hands dirty once again.
These signs are crafted from wood reclaimed from one of the past lives of the building. Placed in the lobby area of each floor, they feature floor plans for direction, and lists of tenants, spaces, and interesting points on the floor. The floor plans were printed 11×17 on bright white cardstock and spray mounted directly to the wood planks (which were planed, sanded, and treated with linseed oil). The other materials, however, are always subject to change – available spaces get leased, new tenants come in, etc – so they were designed to be changed easily. Formatted 8.5×5.5 (half a standard 8.5×11), this allows for anyone to type up a modified list and print it, cut it in half and then mount it. The mounting is achieved with magnets, which connect to ¾” #8 wood screws embedded in the wood. The signs are mounted with good ol baling wire – easy to use, cheap and elemental.
Graphically, the informational sheets were designed to reference the floor plan. Many points of interest have companion signs scattered throughout the building – their locations are marked with asterisks on the mounted floor plan (again, since they would never change). Knowing that tenants are subject to change or be added, the reference there is achieved with creating an ‘icon’ for each listed tenant, and then pinning a second corresponding icon directly onto the floor plan on the suite they are occupying.
There was also a welcome sign, hanging now in the main lobby – it uses the same vocabulary, but also has a portion dedicated to the mission of the Leftbank. This part was achieved with white vinyl lettering and an utterly painstaking application. Recalling the way we cut our teeth for a good month and a half just crafting the words articulated there, the tedium seemed justified.