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Gabe Griffin

You Can Either Invest Extra Money and Time for the Client, or Live with the Regret

You’ll understand when you return to the scene of a sign.




THE ILLUMINATED MONUMENT sign for Skyloft, a 388-unit Class-A residence, is intended to be subtle in size and proportions. Clear Sign & Design (San Marcos, CA) designed a one-piece, precast concrete base with etched and filled geometric lines borrowed from the branding guide. A seamless band of fabricated aluminum wraps around the concrete and provides for push-through acrylic lettering, as well as a subtle, halo glow to highlight the etch and fill details. Skyloft is the vision of Sanderson J. Ray Development (Newport Beach, CA) with StreetLights Residential (San Diego), a specialist in high-end hotels and apartments, as the builder.

As with many projects, this process started with our engineering team constructing the design through SOLIDWORKS to help prevent conflicts and to improve structure fluidity and welding attachment points. Our push-through letter ledge and attachment design, and seamless floating effect of the aluminum sign body improve both the curb appeal and durability. Clear Sign invests in thicker aluminum frames and skins than many of the comparative products I see when I walk other job sites. Oil-canning, warping, fallen push-through letters and cracks from poorly designed seams and joints are all reminders of why we invest the extra time and money.

Once the structure was built and pre-fit onto the precast base, our paint department treated the body with multiple coats of Matthews Ultra Low VOC paint and a satin clear coat for maximum durability. We specified Bitro Bantam LED modules for lighting duty, powered by a pair of Mean Well CLG-60-12 single-output LED drivers, located within a service closet of the building. (We install remote power supplies whenever possible.) Clear Sign assembled the cabinet and concrete backing and footing at the shop, then transported the sign to the site, allowing for a straightforward lift-and-place installation into a landscaped planter.

The halo both splashes the etchings and "floats" the sign.

The halo both splashes the etchings and “floats” the sign.

This made the install a one-day affair. Due to the working radius, we were forced to leave our Skyhoist at home, and rented a 30-ton crane with the capacity to work with a 40-ft. radius. Our technicians needed only to excavate for the footing and conduit sweep, then drop in this 5,500-lb. beauty, backfill and admire the fruits of their labor. Clear Sign goes to the lengths that we do for details that many people will never notice, because we see the art in all that we do. This super-small monument is being asked to do a very big job: identify a space, communicate intent and stand out from the crowd.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This column contains additional images of a project Gabe analyzed on page 44 in our February 2020 edition.

Attaching the push-through acrylic lettering and ready for LED modules.




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