The Block at Orange

Merit Award

The Block at Orange is the first of a new brand of entertainment/retail centers to be rolled out across the country. With more than 70 percent of The Block's square footage dedicated to entertainment and 30 percent to retail, the space is reminiscent of the world's great city blocks, such as Times Square, Pier 39 and Merles Avenue. The conceptual design intent was to create an atmosphere that celebrates the high-energy, active outdoor California lifestyle. The Boulevard is lined with trees and custom benches, providing a quiet shopping street for customers, while Pedestrian Way is a lively, animated area featuring 15-foot-tall tenant signs, 92-foot internally lit pylons and a mega skate park. CommArts worked directly with the anchor tenants, allowing The Block to break away from typical signing and facade programs traditionally associated with a value center.

Jury Comments: 

"The block at Orange relies almost exclusively on graphics and signage to create an extraordinarily rich visual environment for retail and entertainment. The jury found particular merit in the large scale black and white photo billboards that marked the entrance to this complex and serve as visual beacons from the sea of parking that surrounds it. Vaguely troubled by the assertion that this concept will be "rolled out across America," the jury nonetheless felt the creativity, particularly of the entrance elements, and the vibrancy and consistency of the graphics merit an award."

Design Firm: 



The Mills Corporation

Location City: 

Orange, California

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Erhard Pfeiffer, Aaron Hoffman, Ted Kawalerski

Design Team: 

Henry Beer (Principal in Charge), Jim Babinchak, Mike Demmings, Chuck Desmoineaux, Dave Dute, Amie Eschols, Eric Fowles, Aaron Howell, Dale Hubbard, Grady Huff, Kristian Kuver, Paul Mack, Jim Redington, Kurt Sinclair, John Ward




Universal Sign Company, Penwal Industries, Smithcraft, ASI, Inner-Force, Quality Outdoor Advertising, Nationwide Retail Interiors, Super Color Digital, Decal, Inc., Color Concepts, Inc.

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