Client/Owner: Kilroy Realty Corp
Experiential/Wayfinding Graphic Design:
Youn Choi, (as Design Director with Selbert Perkins Design)
Architect: Nadel Architects
Renderings: Youn Choi
The project site is a complex of buildings along Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood within the mile-and-a-half stretch known world-wide as Sunset Strip. Comprised of shops and boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs, casinos and dazzling billboards, and Playboy Entertainment’s former headquarters, “The Strip” became a playground for people in the movie industry in the 1930s ‘40s and an American icon.
When experiential graphics designer Youn Choi came onto the scene, the complex had just undergone a multi-million-dollar renovation. Yet it remained devoid of a strong identity along the otherwise vibrant Strip. The inner walkways were dark and uninviting. Neither pedestrians nor motorists nor the well-heeled Hollywood Hills residents nearby were enticed to patronize the businesses there.
Choi’s problem: She had to completely and permanently change the way people perceived and experienced her client’s property.
Her solution: an experiential graphics design that activates the entire complex by giving it an exciting, eye-catching identity and brightening up every corner and walkway
In the beginning, Choi knew she needed to capture the essence of the site in a memorable, timeless design. By doing that, she could create a friendly, welcoming ambience and a clear identity that would attract pedestrians, catch the eyes of motorists among the non-stop traffic on Sunset Boulevard, and delight the denizens of Hollywood Hills.
Choi’s environmental/experiential design projects are always organized along a hierarchy of ideas and elements specific to that project. Here, the hierarchy began with one clear idea. She wanted to embrace and reflect the romantic atmospheric effect behind the name of the famous boulevard. Step one: simplify the name of the multi-faceted property to simply The Sunset. Step two: develop a rich, vibrant color scheme composed of the colors of a California sunset. And she would establish that palette within the letters of the new name in big, bold signage.
Applied prominently and consistently throughout the complex wayfinding clues, among other purposes, the color palette is a unifying element and a key aspect of the property’s distinctive identity.
Following along the hierarchy of design elements, another early idea: tall, slim columns of colorful lights – echoing the brilliance of the iconic billboards – that would march throughout the property, bringing light and liveliness to inner walkways and brightening the overall look of the complex. She located these towers of light where old exterior outlets remained. The towers continuously change color and can be programmed to reflect certain holidays. Choi specified LED technology to make them an environmentally sound choice, as well.
The light towers pierce the pavement at the bank of escalators that lead below ground to the parking deck. There, the towers become a backdrop for the valet parking area, suggesting a red-carpet experience. Technically, that specific group of light towers supports an awning over the escalators. Effectively, they provide yet another unifying element and al very recognizable aspect of The Sunset’s identity.
Also in the parking deck, Choi used her sunset colors as wayfinding clues. Starting as yellow in “P1,” the colors become increasingly deeper shades at each lower level.