In 2006, the Indianapolis Rotary Club invited teams to submit for a 2-stage competition in Indianapolis that featured Electrolands, Cameron Mcnall and Ninebark Eric Fulford. Designer. Wil Marquez was invited to join the team for his digital design expertise and creative problem solving. The submission called for navigating the city through a series of layered multiple landmarks, boulevards, and light. Entrance and passage are accentuated to redefine the promise of an urban landscape that has become cluttered and un-welcoming. That passage begins at the perimeter of downtown, where we are first introduced to the City along the inner loop of the freeway and river, punctuated by portals that are linked to the heart of downtown, Monument Circle. Each portal was to share three essential components. Principal,
First, a system of color-coded CITY TOWERS and environmental color fields encircles the inner loop of the freeway, announcing each portal destination, making a powerful statement about arrival.
Second, the transition from freeway to city street marks the PORTAL ENTRY, where the transition to pedestrian filled streets is balanced with traffic modified by engineered calming measures.
Finally, each significant road engaged with the PORTAL becomes a grand driving experience, a BOULEVARD, introducing us to the diverse neighborhood Districts that compose Indianapolis. In this broad, layered manner we provide a template for a comprehensive approach that clarifies the existing city structure and offers a cohesive, collective identity of place.
My work with Eric Fulford at his home studio in 2006 was amazing. I remember sitting outside his studio discussing the layout and evaluating the terrain. This project was a large suggestion for a gateway. Its suggestion and energy was in the right place. As a team, I felt that our confidence in offering something unique and visually explosive was timely.
Here is how we described the NORTH STAR
The North Star has guided explorers, wanderers and seekers throughout history. It gave confidence to those who took risks across the unknown to seek a future in a new place. Just as the North Star anchored the Dipping Gourd that guided escaping slaves along the Underground Railroad, the North Star anchors the Canal Promenade. Providing a neighborhood landmark that orients and connects you to this place. This large sculptural cone, clad in woven stainless steel mesh and studded with thousands of small LED lights, symbolically speaks about people coming together from distant places to focus their energy in a collaboration to build a new future for themselves and this community.