By Carlo Paolucci
In 2015, Ikea Canada went out for bid in search for a professional sign company that understood the importance of maintaining and standardizing their signage products. Montreal Neon Signs, Sign Media Canada’s 2018 Signmaker of the Year for the Quebec region, was invited to demonstrate its capabilities. Ikea was looking for more than a sign company; they wanted expertise in the areas of engineering, design, project management, and a company with extensive experience with light-emitting diode (LED) illumination. Essentially, the client was looking for a full-service sign company that understood the importance of brand specifications while offering reliable, durable, and cost-efficient products and services. Ultimately, they realized they not only required signage expertise, but also sign innovators, and Montreal Neon Signs, based in Laval, Que., was up for the challenge.
The navigation tower sign challenge
In unification with safe and reliable signage, Ikea’s requirements also entailed that all of their signs illuminated radiantly according to the company’s brand and colours. For this particular project, Montreal Neon Signs faced significant challenges in replacing a three-sided, flex-face navigation tower sign in Winnipeg and to manufacture and install a new navigation tower sign in Halifax.
To develop, fabricate, and install Ikea’s landmark signs, it required substantial engineering, research, and planning. This project was not simple by any means as Ikea wanted reassurance that the design of the navigation tower would meet all safety regulations, as well as be capable of withstanding high wind loads from all directions. In fact, calculations revealed wind speeds of 80 km/h (50 mph) and higher were frequent at the Ikea store locations; therefore, the signs had to include extended warranties. It was also imperative for the sign to have a clean, minimalist appearance with a single-pole design.
The navigation tower signs range from 27.4 to 42.6 m (90 to 140 ft) and higher. As a result, specialized equipment is required to perform any maintenance and/or repairs. That said, a maintenance and repair plan was developed that included the use of durable components and cost-effective servicing methods such as the design and placement of easily accessible power and LED units.
Another challenge the team confronted was conducting research to find the right substrates that not only offered extended durability, but would also meet Ikea’s specifications. The co-ordination and procurement of regulatory permits required professional negotiations and meticulous documentation, including an engineering seal of approval.
The transportation and installation of all necessary material, signs, and large equipment to the Ikea store required a separate dedicated team with years of logistics and installation experience. Further, the project carried a strict schedule and timeline had to be respected without any exceptions.