Sunset Blvd.’s New, Digital Landscape

As if we didn’t already have too many adverts thrown in our faces… West Hollywood is looking to spruce up their beloved Sunset strip with a temporary digital billboard at 8775 Sunset Boulevard.

Do you hate digital billboards? Same. In a bid to create a lovable digital billboard on a city parcel on the Sunset Strip, WeHo has created a design competition for innovative digital ads.  

The four short-listed teams presented their designs late in May– JCDecaux and Zaha Hadid Project Management Ltd.; Orange Barrel Media/Tom Wiscombe Architecture/MoCA; Outfront Media/Gensler/MAK Center; and Tait Towers Inc..

The goal is to improve the standard of billboards on the Strip, and to get people involved in determining how they want digital billboards to look in the future. In addition, the goal of the design is to create a public space around the billboard.

In a presentation to the City Council, the city’s Community Development Department presented its proposal for moving ahead, to encourage more creative billboards and tall wall signs that “shall use wit, creativity and originality with the goal of provoking a ‘smile in the mind’ of its audience.”

Under the proposal, creative billboards and tall walls have to have at least one of the following elements:

— Three-dimensional props and extensions
— Extensions with cut-out shapes or voids
— Integrated thematic lighting
— Moving or animated mechanical elements
— Different day-time and and night-time images
— Hand-painted graphics or graphics crafted on-site
— Alternative textures and materials such as plants and vegetation
— Live action
— Innovative technologies

The proposal also includes restrictions. For example, no element of the design can extend more than 25% of the face of the existing billboard. Any extension has to have a unique shape and not just be used to expand the size of an existing billboard. Tall walls, which are signs on the sides of buildings, can have extensions provided they have a distinct shape and aren’t larger than 10% of the existing wall.

JCDecaux and Zaha Hadid Project Management Ltd.

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Orange Barrel Media/Tom Wiscombe Architecture/MoCA

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Outfront Media/ Gensler/MAK Center


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Tait Towers Inc.

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The Community Development Department hopes to present its overall proposal for amending the existing plan governing Sunset Strip development at public hearings this coming Fall.

The expectation is that a particularly creative sign there will inspire other billboard owners and advertisers to become more creative elsewhere on the Strip. “This project will provide a real-world experiment for cutting edge digital signage to allow for public and staff review of best practices for state of the art digital advertising,” the Community Development Department said in a report to the City Council.

The WeHo project page notes that, although architect Zaha Hadid died in March, “her legacy is enduring and embedded in the design studio she created.”

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