Due to concern it would be damaged during construction, both the sign and its pole were removed and transported to TDH. After arriving at the shop, the sign was inspected by the fabrication team.
Teamwork makes the dream work
The design process took approximately three months to complete. Working closely with the design team at Lululemon, TDH drafted various concepts, each with its own story and connection to the history of the company, as well as to the neighbourhood. Lululemon was adamant about maintaining its current brand standards, which challenged TDH to find the balance between the old and the new. While the shape of the Midas sign was not particularly complementary to Lululemon’s brand, opening up the centre portion of its main shape created an architecturally interesting detail that pleased all parties.
TDH also had to contend with potential limitations in regards to sign permits within Vancouver. The city’s sign bylaws had undergone multiple revisions since the Midas sign’s original construction in the 1970s, which meant the installation likely did not meet current standards.
Armed with the knowledge that these bylaws are fairly restrictive, TDH brought in its permit consultant, Priority Permits, to help navigate the complexities of the installation—especially since a variance application to the Vancouver council would be necessary to complete the project. With the assistance of Lululemon’s senior management team, TDH and Priority Permits came up with a strategy to satisfy as many of Vancouver’s bylaw requirements as possible, with the hope the remainder could be grandfathered.
TDH suggested Lululemon write to the city, detailing the specific situation and outlining the company’s desire to remain true to the site’s original signage. The letter, signed by Lululemon’s vice-president, explained the benefit of preserving the Midas sign in regards to maintaining the neighbourhood’s unique character. The council, respecting Lululemon’s economic contributions to the city of Vancouver, as well as the company’s desire to reflect the past and the present through its restoration, approved the design.
Site construction begins
With the sign permit application submitted to the city, the construction of the new building was well underway; however, some additional challenges regarding the sign’s installation began to surface.
For one, the sign’s existing concrete pad was sitting 0.3 m (12 in.) higher than that of the new building grade, which, as it was positioned near the entrance, posed a significant risk to pedestrians. Second, the existing sign location was incorrectly sited on the architects’ drawings and was much closer to the building’s façade than originally anticipated. These factors necessitated that additional reviews had to