Blue mural with the words BE EPIC painted on the side of a building.

Long Beach, California

Specialty Graphics at Long Beach Exchange

Located on the Douglas Aircraft Company aerospace manufacturing sites, and adjacent to the Long Beach Airport in Southern California, the vision of LBX encompasses the joys of travel and history of American WW2 aeronautics. The specialty graphics touched a variety of mediums all with the underlying vision creating an enjoyable cohesive experience throughout the 26 acre site.


Across the site, RSM Design created several opportunities of excitement and delight for guests at the Long Beach Exchange. Placemaking elements, including painted murals and bold typographic signs, add unexpected whimsy and character and bring the site to life. These moments help to create the memories that encourage guests to visit a place time and time again.


Developed as a 17,000-square-foot massive structure, The Hangar at Long Beach Exchange was once used as an aviation hangar for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing to construct military and commercial aircraft on site. Today, since the hangar was no longer being used for its original purpose, it is now converted into a space with food vendors and shopping. Full of new life and spirit, The Hangar has become a local spot to enjoy a beer with friends or grab a bite to eat, and the aviation theme still holds a strong presence.

Vintage poster artwork by Stan Galli for United Airlines (circa 1950)

It was clear from the get-go that the site would preserve the history and heritage of the original story of the hangar. RSM Design drew inspiration from vintage posters designed to promote travel and leisure in the 1950’s and 60’s. These spirit filled illustrations, and vintage travel theme in general, became the driving character of the design. The posters create unexpected whimsy throughout the space and airport destination banners become location markers as you walk around the property.

There are no templates in creating places that people truly love; every place and project is one-of-a-kind. The unique character of the Long Beach Exchange is what makes the destination a place where people return to again and again. Murals, whimsical illustrations, pops of color, and texture invite guests into the space in a friendly way. These are the pieces that connect people to place and turn everyday moments into long lasting memories.

From the exterior to the interior, The Hangar project offered the design team a number of opportunities to integrate placemaking and creative signage. A directory labeled with tenants that is inspired by a flight information display system you may find at an airport and suspended or in flight letters create markers for different areas of the food hall. Each of these pieces are reflective of the original theme of aviation, once again tying back to the history and original purpose of the iconic Long Beach hangar.


DRA Architects, RidgeLA, Lighting Design Alliance, Snyder Langston

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