Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sign of the times

It's hard to miss this recent addition to the corner of Customhouse Quay and Willeston Street: a large animated LED sign, bright enough to be clear during the day and to light up the nearby buildings after dark.

Illuminated animated sign, cnr Customhouse Quay & Willeston StIt's nice of the advertisers to provide pedestrians at this busy intersection with something to take their mind off the trivial matters of everyday urban life, like watching for buses.


At 9:21 pm, June 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just about as hideous as the one that wraps around that building on the waterfront - Times Square we are not!

At 8:37 am, June 20, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I share your thoughts re distractions, although from what I understand most of the accidents happen on the North corner of Williston St and Willis,with buses travelling south ie directly under the new sign ( and not within sight of it)

At 9:03 am, June 20, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

I actually don't mind it all that much, really: it's a bit too bright, and the appalling jokes and pointless video loops make me cringe, but it's the middle of the city, and we should expect brash and vulgar signage like this. I think I quite like the one on the waterfront, though it could do with some more interesting content.

"Times Square we are not!"

More's the pity, some might say.

At 9:10 am, June 20, 2007, Blogger Matthew Bartlett said...

It's bloody awful. So bright. Pulls my gaze and I resent that and am tempted to throw a rock at it. Undignified. Large scale public advertising is a cancer.

At 10:39 am, June 20, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's just about as hideous as the one that wraps around that building on the waterfront"

Aww now. I don't understand why people don't like this. I really quite like it. It's subtle and elegant, fits with the shape/style of the building, they didn't over do it. It is probably fair to say it's a proper part of the architecture.

The other electronic signs around the place aren't thought out, aren't part of the architecture. They're just blocks tacked on the sides of buildings or tops of verandas.

At 11:01 am, June 20, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like it. It's ridiculously bright on the morning bus commute though. I wish there were more things like that. Billboards and advertising and clutter. I mean, don't put them on the front of nice buildings, put em in the bland gaps and use a bit of imagination. I know it's a little contradictory but why can't advertisement be art/sculpture as well?

Also, it's one of the busiest corners in the country, there should be more of them. And while we're at it, let's triple the population of Wellington so it can be our Times Square. I hate that you can walk one block from the Golden Mile and there's nothing happening; there's three or four people smoking cigarettes in doorways and ALWAYS a bored looking contractor sitting in a van.


middle to upper willis
brandon/johnston/waring taylor
the one with the wellesley
lower taranaki

and to go waaay off topic, because I havent been on the internet for weeks so i'm just gonna have a big rant...

in my opinion, the biggest and most shameful waste of space in this city is the street formed from Bond street through to Cuba (by Kate Sylvester) and cornhill lane. That could be an amazing inner city street, despite the parking building (which could be made interesting.) Imagine three or four bars/restaurants, maybe another block of apartments (perhaps on top of the parking building, or even on stilts over the road there) and there's that little brick park on the corner. it has so much potential and I admit I got my hopes up when the council paved the Cuba Street end.

instead it's a service lane.

sorry, this has no relevance whatsoever :)

oh and while im here. tom. seeing as you're working on johnston street now, do you know anything about why they're replacing the, admittedly awful, pink/orange paving bricks on featherston street with asphalt? I seem to remember next to midland park there was a large paving slab trial going on, and the councilwas murmuring about the viewshafts to the water from lambton quay... nopt putting my thoughts together too clearly i've been at work since 5.

At 1:32 pm, June 20, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

Matthew: I think I'm more with Erentz and the last anon. "A cancer"? Hardly. Billboards, animated LEDs and neon may be undignified, but they are part of what makes modern cities exciting, and I enjoy the visual overload that they produce. They ought to tone this one down just a bit, though, and get a decent advertising/graphics company to come up with some interesting animations.

Anon: you're right, that is quite a rant! I agree with you about being frustrated with the "one street deep" nature with the city, but there are some encouraging signs that that's changing. I'd agree with Brandon St being dead (and Panama's worse), but I think that Johnston & Waring Taylor aren't too bad: there's quite a lot more retail and active edges there than there was a few years ago. Besides, it's hard to avoid having some side streets that are essentially just service lanes: you could go half a block off Oxford St in London and find the same smokers and bored van drivers.

I agree that the Bond/Lombard/Cornhill area could be a lot better, and in general we've been slow to realise the potential of our narrow side streets.

As for the repaving of Featherston St: you know, I've only just noticed that! Of course it's been hard to miss over the last few weeks, but I hadn't thought to check that they'd changed the street surface. Yes, the paving trial was designed to find a surface for the Johnston St "path to the waterfront", though I don't know what the decision was in the end, and it wouldn't necessarily affect Featherston St itself. I think I actually prefer asphalt to those pseudo-cobbles anyway.

At 7:01 pm, June 20, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's going to be a zone substation on that little carpark on Bond Street behind Kate Sylvester. It's been planned forever and should be reasonably unobtrusive. Kinda necessary with increasing population density. If done well it could even improve that area. See Vector's asset management plan at http://www.vector.co.nz/information_disclosure/asset-mngmt2006.pdf

At 3:37 pm, June 21, 2007, Blogger Matthew Bartlett said...

hi Tom -- I said large scale advertising is a 'cancer' because it seems to grow inexorably, and because the messages are generally banal/greed-inducing/mildly coercive.

At 10:58 am, June 26, 2007, Blogger Hadyn said...

I got no problem with the bilboard itself, though it's been there for a while and I've not seen any actual content on it.

The scrolling headlines seem to come from the Herald's feed and sometimes don't make sense without context. There is full motion video but it's not "of" anything.

What about movie trailers or something, anything but ads for the screen itself!

At 3:45 pm, June 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's disgusting and should never have been granted whatever form of planning consent was needed. So bright that at night people visiting my apartment think there's flashes of lightning somewhere nearby.


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