In its new world-class stadium designed by Eisenman Architects and HOK Sport, the Arizona Cardinals can boast a retractable roof and the only retractable grass playing field in North America. The state-of-the-art facility is also the site of the 2008 Super Bowl. Thanks to a high-impact environmental graphics program by Pentagram Design, the stadium also provides a one-of-a-kind destination for football fans. In an era when stadia and arenas are becoming increasingly generic-the better to outfit for changing sponsorships-Pentagram Design viewed the environmental graphics as a chance to redefine the NFL experience for fans. Pentagram made sure there's no mistaking whose stadium this is: the Cardinals' colors and team iconography are applied inventively all the way from the primary stadium identity to the locker room. Freestanding, playfully superscaled entrance numbers and letters help orient fans from the moment they get out of their cars. Inside, supergraphics and colorful wayfinding elements make it easy to navigate the huge stadium. A timeline of the team (the oldest continuously operating franchise in the U.S.), covers one of the building's supercolumns. A “Wall of Fans” and sponsor graphics add to the home-team feeling. Pentagram avoided the team logo, instead creating custom graphics for the entire project. In the unforgettable team locker room, custom floor tiles coordinate with carpeting that features a stylized version of the Cardinals' bright yellow beak on a red background. A huge Cardinals mural, witty promotional graphics, and fresh concession signage add to the bold, contemporary look. To quote one of the stadium's graphic panels, Pentagram's design “bleeds Cardinals red.” And that's apparently a good thing.
Michael Gericke (partner in charge), Don Bilodeau (senior designer), Wayne McCutcheon (Entro partner), Gord McTaggart (senior designer)
Entro Communications (supporting environmental graphic designers); Eisenman Architects (design architect); HOK Sport (facility architect); Urban Earth Design (landscape architect); Hunt Construction (building contractor)
Fluoresco Lighting & Signs (structural signs: channel letters, thematic wayfinding signs, totems); GM Nameplate (wayfinding signs, large-format banners, wall graphics); Ben Franklin Press (large-format banners and large-format digital graphics)
“Few graphic or interior programs are as distinct and as comprehensive as the Arizona Cardinals Stadium. Although this particular juror loathes sports projects because they have grown predictable and commercial, I was both excited and passionate about this project. It is refreshing and bold in its approach to scale and use of iconography. Its design clearly exemplifies the mission of the stadium: to build on the enthusiasm and dedication that fans have for their team, players, and sport.” “This project works on all scales, from the larger-than-life building identification to the signage system, down to bench fabric that replicates simple play diagrams. The strength of the approach, hierarchy, and implementation of the few but well executed graphic elements visible in the stadium build the brand equity of the overall stadium and fan experience.” “It distinguishes itself as a design that could only be used for the Arizona Cardinals, picking up on the Cardinal logo and color while pulling out distinct characteristics such as the yellow beak that becomes a colorful icon for wall surfaces and finishes. The quality of the execution seems to express great integrity. This project goes beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary.”