Proudly Presents, Thx for Support

Proudly Presents, Thx for Support

City National Plaza,

Los Angeles

When a large bank recast the landmark ARCO Towers as its national headquarters, Sussman/Prejza was tapped to implement a new logo and environmental design for the interiors and the plaza between the buildings. Taking cues from a bright spiral sculpture on the plaza, the designers created a logo (bottom), signage (below), and a lively set of patterns incorporating the logo in various colors, scales, and overlapping motifs. The patterns are scattered throughout the building and plaza— on carpets, wall finishes, and even the café-style tables that surround the sculpture.

resents, Thx foroSiippierterse turn in this project. Because the designers frequently develop interiors inspired by the outdoors, they collapse entire landscapes into fields of color applied to walls, ceilings, and floors. "The Ohio River, with its bridges and river-boats, was important in the formation of the city," says Sussman, "so at the Cincinnati Center, the idea was to wrap the visitor in an envelope of color that grew from the river." In the foyers, they designed ceilings and floors with patterns that embody different ways of looking at water, studying Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters to develop pointillist-inspired carpet patterns in complex colors. By using undulating patterns on the ceiling and walls of the main ballroom, they break down the big-box feel of the space and connect it to the setting. Their graphic program successfully imports the outdoor environment into the center.

In San Francisco's Museum of the African Diaspora, which opened last month, Sussman/Prejza was brought into the design team by architect The Freelon Group to design the logo, graphics, and exhibition spaces. They took the idea of social disruption that Africans have encountered into the entry hall and facade by creating a long, rectangular plane that floats across the three-story space and erupts through the facade, forming a canopy. It's a slash of color made concrete as a part of the architecture. Sussman/Prejza also made a poignant portrait architectural—they tapped Runaway Technology to transform a photograph of a young African girl, taken by Chester Higgins, Jr., into a two-story photomosaic composed of more than 2,000 donated portraits of other Africans. The gigantic face claims ownership of the space and personalizes it. Inside, a mix of immersive multimedia-exhibit experiences and places for public and private reflection lend gravitas to the narratives of the African experience in different places and throughout human history.

With AC Martin Partners, Sussman/Prejza is designing new environmental graphics for the twin ARCO Towers in Los Angeles—landmark skyscrapers now being recast as headquarters for the City National Bank. The designers have taken their visual theme from a spiral sculpture that is the centerpiece of the plaza. "We often start with a three-dimensional thing as an inspiration for a graphic," says Sussman. Ironically, the sculpture is by Herbert Bayer, a renowned Bauhaus graphic artist who worked, like Sussman/Prejza, outside the classic limits of his discipline. In a reversal of their usual process, the designers have transformed the sculpture back into a graphic identity and iconographic logo that appears on windows, signs, carpets, and tabletops. "The question is how to give new life to the building and still respect the original," she says. "We're taking something that exists and making it new." ■


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