Months of anticipation preceded the opening of 20 Monroe Live, a 2,600-seat concert venue in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Concert-goers eagerly purchased tickets to see the opening acts, including Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, Umphrey’s McGee, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Shinedown.
To make sure the venue would be completed on schedule, the owners approached Gilson with a request to create, print, deliver and install vital signage and wall murals in time for the February 1 opening. In addition to vinyl window-cling signage for the ticket booths, the project included six enormous wall murals, three 6-foot metal signs of the venue logo, and way-finding signs to direct and inform the crowds. Gilson’s large format capabilities, expertise in printing on a variety of substrates, skilled installation team and history of quick turnaround attracted the owners’ attention and made us the ideal vendor for this fast-track project.
Six wall murals set the atmosphere for the venue with bold, music-themed art highlighting iconic figures in rock and entertainment history: The Beatles in psychedelic colors, a posterized Jimi Hendrix on guitar, a young Johnny Cash with an attitude, and an inventive tribute to Pink Floyd’s album, “Dark Side of the Moon.” In honor of the venue name, a prominent display in the main lobby features a clever, Warhol-style collage of Marilyn Monroe styled as 20 different musical celebrities.
For Gilson, the challenge was to ensure the murals could withstand the heavy use of a high-traffic venue. Our large format and installation teams worked together to identify the most durable material for the purpose. Because the murals are installed on drywall, the team printed the images on a wallpaper-like substrate that would bond permanently with the wall, yet could be replaced in pieces if a portion became damaged. The wallpaper format also facilitated printing and installation, since the adjacent pieces were a more manageable size for transporting and handling.
In addition to the murals, the venue owners requested a sophisticated rendering of the 20 Monroe Live logo to hang on walls in the public areas. Designed with a black finish on brass, Gilson was challenged to make the six-foot signs lightweight for installation, yet durable and affordable. The solution was a metal veneer that was cut into the diamond- shaped logo and mounted on a lightweight backing. Instead of a printed finish, which would be subject to scratching, Gilson created a resilient vinyl cutout that allows the brass to show through in a reversed-out format.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go
While directing crowd traffic may not be as glamorous as colorful wall murals and polished brass signs, it is vital to the orderly operation of a venue hosting thousands of people. To help audiences find their way to seating areas, concessions, restrooms and other locations, Gilson printed a collection of way-finding signs that complement the style of the lobby areas and are easily readable at a distance.
Gilson’s adaptability, innovative choice of materials, responsiveness during the installation process and quick turnaround were just a few of the features that led to high marks (and a lot of positive feedback!) from the customer.
When you have a project that calls for customized large format materials, inventive displays or other unique features, Gilson is ready to get your show on the road! Call your Gilson sales rep today to learn more.