New Work: Parking at 13-17 East 54th St.
As holiday shoppers exit stores across the nation, heading out into vast lots and garages, the most important thing on their minds is not what baubles they’ve bought their loved ones but rather, “Where the @#$%&! did we park the car?” Pentagram’s Paula Scher has designed graphics for a Midtown Manhattan garage that make sure drivers never forget where the car is.
Owned by Cohen Bros. Realty and managed by Ampco System Parking, the seven-story garage is located at 13-17 East 54th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues and adjacent to an office building at 3 East 54th Street, also owned by Cohen. The owners planned to upgrade the garage and install a new program of environmental graphics.
In Scher’s original concept, she wanted to fill the windows of the non-descript structure with the question “Did You Remember Where We Parked the Car?” City zoning, however, required more traditional signage on the façade, which Scher has rendered in elegant neon. The interior signage acts as a kind of backseat driver as one moves through the garage. Set in Verlag, the typographic pileup includes instructions for drivers—“Slow and steady wins the race,” “Don’t stop here, continue,” etc.—and supergraphics identifying parking levels and elevators.
Scher’s original question remains unasked, waiting to be installed on another parking lot that empathizes with drivers everywhere.
Project Team: Paula Scher, partner-in-charge and designer; Drew Freeman and Nikola Gottschick, designers.