Is not hard to find in Chicago’s Historic Theater District
By Jerry Lefere
On the morning of May 28, 2016, a fire started in the electronics of the marquee sign for the Goodman Theatre, Chicago’s oldest and largest nonprofit theater. Local fire departments rushed to the scene, but before they could extinguish the blaze, extensive damage had been done. I saw a video of the fire on YouTube and showed it to Landmark Sign Project Manager Mike Lanovich, suggesting he contact the theater about a replacement.
Landmark Sign Group (Chesterton, IN) already has a reputation for creating iconic signage throughout down-town Chicago, including signs for The Cadillac Palace Theatre and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at the Navy Pier. Mike met with the directors and designers of the Goodman Theatre to discuss design, but first we had to create and install a temporary surround for the damaged sign. Using 3mm, 6 x 10-ft. Alucobond panels with direct digital prints on the faces, our installers folded and fastened the aluminum composite material around the damaged sign.
BEST OF OLD + NEW
All were in agreement that the new sign should maintain the overall look of its predecessor, but we wanted to upgrade it with efficient LED lighting. Senior Technical Engineer Terry Ambrosini prepared initial designs that would utilize four different types of LEDs, including border lighting for the backer panels; flexible simulated-neon LED tubing to match the look of the previous sign letters; and a border around the letters themselves capable of being lit as static white or with changing colors. Chuck Harder from Bitro Group told us about his company’s LightSymphony Addressable RGB System, which uses RGB “pucks” controlled by a DMX system to produce full animation effects. This system goes beyond the regular fade and color changing capabilities of some current RGB systems and helps the borders of the letters stand out.
“We worked diligently to provide a sign that continues the tradition of being a historic landmark in downtown Chicago,” Mike said. “Paying close attention to capture the spirit of the previous sign, this new display incorporates the latest and greatest in lighting technology.”
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