Summer Tourists, Art Projections, US Bank Tower Lights Up

Each week we share a few thoughts and feelings from the desk of Downtown. Here's some from the week of August 5 2015:

Tis the season for summer vacation, and more tourists than usual have been filling Downtown's streets, many on holiday or here for the Special Olympics. Like a parent seeing their child off to a new school, it's exciting, but also nervewracking. To the average visitor, Downtown LA must be confusing. Our pedestrian wayfinding signage is barebones and sorely outdated. It's too easy to miss gems like The Last Bookstore or the Bradbury Building. Guide books still revere the Hollywood Walk of Fame over anything Downtown. And nearly all existing signage is placed at sight lines for drivers. How can we creatively use existing sidewalk-level infrastructure to better orient people here?

Last Saturday night, the Empire State Building became a fantastical display of endangered species. LA has had its building projection fun, most notably LA City Hall during Grand Park's New Years Eve celebrations. But while other cities have zoomed into the future with projection mapping, the folks at LA City Hall has been pretty resistant on the whole. No one wants buildings turned into ads of course, but NYC's moment of visual glory reveals the meaningful possibilities of when we're allowed to get creative with multimedia technology and imagination.

Speaking of skylines, the US Bank Tower, in its final days as LA's tallest building, has been lookin' real good. We loved last fall's solid color rainbow pattern, which they rightly brought back this spring. But to welcome the Special Olympics last week, the crown became a dazzling display of pastel-y colors, shifting in shape and hue throughout the night. Now it's back to classic white, but hopefully that's temporary.