March 13, 2023

Finding Your Way to the Oscars!

White illuminated Ovation logo sign on board form concrete wall with arch in background with illuminated rays extending on arch face.

RSM Design's new wayfinding within Ovation Hollywood

Home of the Academy Awards within the Dolby Theater since 2002, the re-imagined Ovation development is located in the heart of Hollywood. Adjacent to the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, this newly envisioned mixed-use complex is positioned to become the epicenter of the Hollywood experience.

For close to a decade, RSM Design has collaborated with multiple development teams to repurpose and reposition the project formerly known as Hollywood & Highland, and now re-branded as Ovation Hollywood. The goal was to open the public gathering spaces to Hollywood Boulevard and make the site and its amenities more inviting. The development has opened its doors to a more diverse collection of offerings, now including creative offices, a hotel, retail, entertainment, and dining destinations, creating a true mixed-use destination for tourists and the local community. RSM Design’s team was engaged to integrate identity, wayfinding, and specialty placemaking graphics into the whole experience, uniquely inspired and abstractly rooted by the past, present, and future of Hollywood.

A refresh for the Hollywood icon

Since its origins in the early 1900s, the site has stood as a hallmark at the epicenter of Hollywood. During the 1910s, moviemakers discovered that the always-sunny climate of Los Angeles was ideal for year-round filming. It was at this time that many started migrating to the area, wanting to stay at the famed original Hollywood Hotel located on this site. But by the late 1940s, the hotel started to decline, and the land use began to evolve– ultimately becoming the largest development in the area, known as Hollywood & Highland. 

For over a decade, developers have been trying to revamp the outdated center, confronted by many challenges. When recently acquired by DJM Capital and GAW Capital, and by putting nearly $100 million into the redevelopment, exciting things began to happen. One of the primary goals was focused on eliminating the former Babylonian-style graphic references and creating a space that was more inclusive and inviting to a larger audience. Ovation now features a dynamic and welcoming open plaza, murals commissioned by artist Geoff McFetridge, specialty graphics and wayfinding by RSM Design, and an overall design approach that feels contemporary, inspiring, timeless, and authentically Hollywood.

Placemaking inspired by Hollywood

While crafting the designs for Ovation, RSM Design was inspired by a juxtaposition of classic Hollywood meets the future and the evolutions of digital inspirations.

Graphic elements enliven the walls of Ovation, celebrating the artful nature of the community.

While celebrating the diversity and creativity of the local community, the specialty placemaking designs also pay homage to the entertainment industry and Ovation as the backdrop to the Academy Awards. As the development evolves to suit the needs of the contemporary audience, it was important for the placemaking elements to also adapt and appeal to a more diverse audience.

The refreshed brand celebrates the future of new beginnings. At the new Ovation, the stage is set for everyone, and with the venue's inclusive and immersive design, everyone has a part to play in the show and deserves their standing ovation.

Ovation is the ball gown, signage is the tuxedo

Within Ovation, the wayfinding is referred to as the "tuxedo", as it adds a touch of sophistication, classic elegance, and timeless quality, guiding visitors through the space while contributing to the overall atmosphere and aesthetic. 

Inspired by the timeless black tuxedo, the RSM Design team took an intentionally classic approach to graphic language. Through sophisticated materiality, timeless typography, and a bold but simple black-and-white color palette, the final design is both contemporary and ageless. 

Ovation itself can be compared to the beauty of the ball gown….it's the showstopper. The overall environment is where the ambiance, atmosphere, and spectrum of opportunities all come together to create an unforgettable experience. RSM Design wanted to support the environment and the guest with elements that were both functional and fashionable but let the space take center stage.

Wayfinding for 25 million annual visitors

In addition to feeling timeless and classic, another important principle of the signage design is clarity. Wayfinding is critical at Ovation to help the venue's diverse visitors navigate the large and complex space, particularly during peak weekends and evenings. To accommodate the diversity of visitors, the signage uses clear, concise language and universal symbols to ensure everyone can understand the directional information.

The placement of signage was also carefully considered and positioned at key decision-making points, beginning at the entrances, parking structures, interior core, and exits. This strategic placement, woven into the architectural context, is intended to keep the visitor journey not only smooth and painless but exciting and delightful. Additionally, as a transformational day-to-night venue, many of the wayfinding elements use dynamic lighting as a navigational tool. Specialty placemaking designs were used as an integral part of Ovation’s overall branding and design language– contributing to the iconic status of this world-renowned entertainment destination. 

Ovation Hollywood is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the history and culture of Hollywood...and wanting to be in a cool place! With its mix of entertainment, shopping, and dining options, it offers a unique experience that captures the spirit of this iconic Los Angeles neighborhood. Ovation is a celebrated venue that is playing a significant role in shaping Hollywood's entertainment landscape, with a focus on and applauding the diversity that makes Los Angeles so wonderful.

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