Parking at 13-17 East 54th Street

Merit Award

Finding a parking space may be one of the most grueling aspects of living or working in New York City. And chances are, drivers will end up in one of the city’s 1,100 parking garages. Once inside one of these cheerless concrete caverns, other challenges emerge.

But thanks to Pentagram, the seven-story parking garage at 13-17 East 54th Street, between Fifth and Madison avenues, is an exception. As part of an upgrade planned by its owners, Cohen Bros. Realty, Pentagram was asked to design an environmental graphics program that would help direct drivers through the garage and add some much-needed graphic levity.

In the design team’s concept, the graphics act as a kind of backseat driver, imparting information via large-scale typography and ensuring drivers will never forget where they parked their cars. Set in Verlag, the typographic pileup includes instructions from the philosophical to the practical—“Slow and steady wins the race” and “Don’t stop here, continue”—and supergraphics identifying parking levels and elevators. The façade signage is rendered in elegant neon.

Jury Comments: 

“Life with cars sucks. But this makes it suck way less.”

“Exquisite typographic solution for an ugly problem; entertaining and fun. Visually memorable and sophisticated.”

Design Firm: 

Pentagram

Client: 

Cohen Bros. Realty

Location City: 

New York

Project Area: 

N/A

Open Date: 

N/A

Project Budget: 

N/A

Photo Credits: 

James Shanks

Design Team: 

Paula Scher (art director/designer), Andrew Freeman (senior designer), Nikola Gottschick (designer)

Consultants: 

N/A

Fabricators: 

Mega Media Concepts (painted lettering, type boards, hanging signs), Lettera Sign (neon)

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