Walt Disney Concert Hall


Visual Signature and Environmental Graphics for the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

In 1991 Frank Gehry commissioned us to develop an original visual signature and environmental graphics for the Walt Disney Concert Hall (WDCH), the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The WDCH runs an entire city block, and is the cornerstone of an ongoing downtown revitalization program. 

From the beginning, our challenge was to create a signature identity that would resonate with Gehry’s iconoclastic building design without mimicking it. All signage had to be scalable in tone, equally at home with Philharmonic formal and downtown funky.

We tested over 5,000 existing typographic variants through a technique appropriate to the artistic roots of the building: Disney animation. By animating fonts and exploring the in-between frames as one font transformed into another, we invented a new font with dynamic range, which we dubbed “A Font Called Frank.” After testing it by creating posters for everything from a John Cage concert to a Wagner opera, we applied our invention to the building. We integrated the typography by embedding the information alive in the material itself, creating perforations in the metal to allow light to emanate from within.

Today the Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of L.A.’s most recognizable landmarks.


Walt Disney Concert Hall
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Walt Disney Concert Hall

The making of a modern icon
665
25,783
18
Published:

Creative Fields