In Part 1 of hating the Trump Sign, we saw precedent for building signage along the Michigan Avenue skyline at the south end of Grant Park. Let’s continue our tour around Grant and Millennium parks, shall we?
Our next photo shows One Prudential Plaza, a 600-ft-high office building on Randolph Street. Now, it’s bad enough that Prudential has posted their name 41 stories in the air, figuring prominently in the skyline. But notice what else they’ve done? Let’s say I’m taking a casual walk across Randolph, perhaps to get a nice breakfast at Wildberry, when BOOM. Prudential had the audacity to etch their logo into the side of the building! What? Who gave that the ok? Do they expect me to walk into their store and buy insurance instead of breakfast? Oh. It’s not a store. Ok, never mind. I guess it’s just good corporate branding. Still, a sign and a logo seems a bit much to me. And they’re not even a hotel!
Moving east, we find The Blue Cross Blue Shield tower at 300 East Randolph. In 2010, this building expanded upward to top out at 57 stories. This is by far the most subtle of the markings I’ve pointed out, but it’s still very visible on the skyline, and therefore an effective act to create brand awareness on BCBS’s part. You notice it, you recognize it, but it’s simply too subliminal to offend anyone’s tastes. And, the logos also seem to fade away when the building is lit up for the Chicago sports teams.
Before we leave Grant Park, let’s take a look at one more photo. This is The Legacy at Millennium Park. It’s a new arrival on the Chicago skyline. This residential tower with no signage, no logos, no antennae, no controversy. It has no relevance to this issue, thereby making its inclusion in this post totally unnecessary. But it’s an awesome tower, especially in the sunlight, I love it, and this is my blog.
All right, we’ve covered the skyline looking from the south ad nauseam. Now, I’d like to take a look at the Trump Tower neighborhood, another area people say the TRUMP sign has devastated the view. I want to start directly across the Chicago River, with two signs I find hideous.
That Morton’s sign extends about 15 floors. Even the Hotel Monaco is grateful it’s there, just to take some of the attention away from their 5-floor self-promotion. These are not gentle hints at where visitors should dine and stay. These are grab-you-by-the-lapels eyesores that no one seems to mind. Of course, to be fair, the steaks are really good.
Finally, also on the south side of the river, are these to two signs, one for the Hotel 71, now known as the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront Hotel, and one for the Kemper headquarters. A hotel and a brand. That sounds familiar. There’s a story here from Crain’s from July 2013 that the Kemper building may be sold, so it’s quite possible that sign will come down or be replaced with the new owner’s brand. According to Crain’s, this would be the first change of ownership at 1 East Wacker. I can find no indication of when a sign was first added to the top. Does it make a difference? Sure, it could. If someone erects a structure, then adds their name to it years after completion, once everyone has grown accustomed to seeing the it without signage, that could certainly ruffle some feathers. I think this may be what upsets some about the Trump sign situation, and I believe it’s a valid point. Any signage included in the original construction feels like a more natural addition, and takes less “getting used to.”
I’d like to address one more area of Chicago, the Magnificent Mile, in the next post. In the meantime, feel free to continue a respectful dialogue in the comments section. See you again soon.
For a different opinion on the Chicago Trump Sign Crisis, please read this post from Matthew Carbone.