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(February 2017) posted on Wed Feb 22, 2017

ARTfx adds the perfect “Thing” to Addams Tavern

By Lawrin Rosen

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Over the years, many of ARTfx’s (Bloomfield, CT) most successfully designed projects were collaborative efforts – initial concepts and sub- sequent refinements passed back and forth between our creative staff and outside designers. An architect or designer might supply a clever idea, but the practical parameters are derived through our fabrication experience: hands-on intimacy with materials, finishes and lighting. Such was the case with the recent sign and architectural fabrication package ARTfx provided for Addams Tavern in Westfield, NJ. Addams Tavern was named after John Addams, a Westfield native who wrote “The Addams Family” comedy strip that inspired the 1960’s TV show, movies, a musical and more.

The package is highlighted by a set of illuminated letters set into a half-barrel metal entry canopy from which a gas lantern hangs. Other components include two traditional awnings and a series of layered-metal window skirts, two of which are featured under the windows of the restaurant front. Additionally, for the interior, ARTfx provided an illuminated, mica-faced bar mirror valance. However, here I would like to focus on the main illuminated component of the package, a multi-tiered channel letter sign/canopy ensemble.

Many designers we work with today have diminished the once-detailed portions of their drawings in exchange for what they refer to as “inspirational imagery” – photos downloaded from the Internet. They present images of existing work similar to what they have in mind in lieu of the detailed renderings we once expected for guidance. Although the imagery paints something of a picture, extracting precise information necessary for fabrication becomes arduous. ARTfx’s drawings for Addams Tavern (all produced with the latest version of CorelDRAW) required multiple iterations and dozens of emails before our interpretation suited both the designer and the client.

Thus, increasingly, we inherit the lion’s share of the design burden. Concept solidification requires numerous color sketches before we can supply detailed shop drawings. What was often a give and take process has become more give than take. I highlight this prior to describing the physical work itself because the extra work can burden the job disproportionately. Therefore, the design demands of the signshop must be itemized clearly in the quotation for proper assessment and suitable reimbursement.


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