The outside signage at One Yonge Street had pretty much been ignored since the building was erected in 1970. Decades of woeful neglect to the surrounding waterfront also didn’t help the buildings stature with Toronto locals. 'Old', 'tired' and 'ugly' were words often associated with One Yonge Street. Office rentals were down and stiff competition began popping up in the form of new and more attractive, modern buildings. As new developments and changes were happening on the waterfront, building owners at Pinnacle and the tenant management firm Triovest knew they needed to change the buildings image in order to bring in new tenants and keep in step with the rapidly changing neighbourhood. Modu Design reached out to Pinnacle and Triovest with a big idea.
Before we began we asked ourselves a question. “Is this address just a number or can it represent something more to the city?” Our office is located at One Yonge so we know the location inside and out. We know of the energy the neighbourhood has and its history (once known as the longest street in the world at 1,896 km). The area is known for its beautiful waterfront, ferry rides to the island, ice cream, sailboats, bus tours, planes, trains and boardwalks and restaurants. After talking to tenants and our neighbours, we had a great understanding of the pride people had for the area. We began seeing One Yonge Street as not just another city address but as a destination for business, families and tourism. It’s an address that has both historical significance and a bold new vision for its future.
This signage project was a great chance to experiment with what public signage and digital technology can really do (beyond selling just advertisements). The concept was to build four 7ft LED screens creating a stand alone structure, shifting the concept from a static address sign to a full, animated urban experience. Day-to-day life in the neighbourhood was reflected by using bright and colourful icons. Multiple animations would be controlled remotely and timed to show the new One Yonge logo in between different animations. Early in the day it can be timed to say “Good Morning” or “Good Night” on your way home while reminding you to bring an umbrella in the morning. With the flexibility of digital, updates and changes can be made simply. Animations could be added to reflect anything from the holidays to the seasons while internet connectivity provides additional content such as weather, news or a social media feed.