Denver International Airport’s new welcome sign was a two-and-a-half-year journey to create a signature gateway to mark the airport’s “front door” and create a memorable experience that allows dynamic messaging and showcases LED technology with the team’s digital provider.
The design concept pulls inspiration from the ribbon-like patterns found in the topography of the Colorado landscape. The curvilinear form undulates with gently sloping contours, creating an innate sense of motion in the structure. Content can be pushed across the poles with the viewer’s eye negotiating the negative space to experience content in a dynamic yet ephemeral way.
The digital experience consists of three large-format LED screens that display graphics, emergency messages, public service announcements and advertisements. Connecting them is a ribbon of aluminum poles with embedded LED sticks; each pole is angled according to a specific plan to create the effect of a ribbon meandering across the landscape.
A design was needed that maintained traffic safety along the airport’s primary access road. The team spent countless hours developing the siting, shape and characteristics of the Welcome Sign to achieve these goals. Physical models, digital models, virtual reality and 3-D fly throughs were necessary to understand the appropriate scale in the vast landscape viewed by cars, trains and jets. The beauty of the technology used in the sign is that it is flexible and dynamic so the graphic solution on the structure is only limited by the imagination of its creators. Since there is not another sign of this type in the country, a full-size mockup was developed to work through design details such as proof of concept, visibility of supporting structure, drainage, maximizing views and creating a safe experience.
DEN team: David Bruce (project manager), Annette Kimble (project manager), Amy Gaddis (designer), Lee Pollock (designer), Andrew Bailey (designer)
Interstate Highway Construction, Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company