Wilson’s Shopping Centre: From vision to reality

A landmark decision

The owner wanted a landmark to honour the community that has been loyal to his family’s business for so many years. Barrington Passage, N.S., is well-known for its connection to the sea and its lobster fishing fleet, which has been the dominant source of employment in the local economy since the community was founded.

WILSON The metal fabrication for the lighthouse pylon top is halfway completed.

The metal fabrication for the lighthouse pylon top is halfway completed.

There are also a number of local, historic lighthouses in close proximity and a design built around a lighthouse motif was the option Wilson favoured. Although conscious of the fact a lighthouse is somewhat a ‘well-used’ symbol in many brands coming out of the East Coast, its claim to legitimacy in this specific, local context was undeniable. Further, it was clear in its role as a beacon, landmark, and symbol of a community’s traditional identity. This made it unquestionably compatible with Wilson’s own brand image.

However, questions that remained included: how far to take this concept and, then, ultimately, how to build it.

Taking care of the basics

The structure of the pylon header is indented.

The structure of the pylon header is indented.

During the initial consultation meeting with the Wilson’s, the author and Mattatall’s account executive, Dan Russell, started by resolving the project’s basic parameters such as the sign’s allowable footprint and height, as well as the client’s wish list (which included two, full-colour electronic message centre [EMC] displays). Then, three design considerations were pencil-sketched, which ranged from purely symbolic (in the form of a traditional pylon sign featuring a lighthouse logo on a sign face) to a full, 3D structure built to look like a real lighthouse (except with signs on it, of course). The third sketch comprised an intermediate option that looked like something in between. Each option had its merits; therefore, the client asked to see what each design might look like in a more real-life setting.

Over the next few days, the author produced three proposal illustrations using Adobe Illustrator, which were based on the conceptual renderings and the ballpark price (for each option) determined by Mattatall’s estimator.

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