West Hollywood Selects Designs for Signs to Revitalize the Sunset Strip

8760 Sunset Blvd. Mutato Muzika.

The City of West Hollywood has announced the winners in a competition to revitalize the Sunset Strip with new designs for the billboards for which The Strip is known.

The Sunset Arts & Advertising Program includes 21 projects that not only include billboards but also renovations to some existing buildings and creation of new public spaces. The billboards also will be connected with some buildings that have been designated as historic resources and some new development projects.

The city received 43 applications for its Sunset Arts & Advertising Program. They were evaluated by a team of seven people with backgrounds in architecture, filmmaking, outdoor advertising, and historic preservation. The evaluation was based on “specific criteria related to design quality, economic development, public benefit, sustainability, and adaptable design, which were formulated based on the policy’s adopted design principles,” says a report of the project.

The building at 8760 Sunset Blvd. (designed by Oscar Niemeyer) as it looks today

The billboard, media and advertising companies whose projects qualified were Ace, Big Outdoor, Consumer Experience Group, Daktronics, iKahan Media, Orange Barrel Media, OutFront Media, Netflix, Pop! Outdoor Media, Porter 24, Prismview/Samsung, Sensory Interactive, StandardVision • Symblaze Inc., 3.0 Outdoor, and “~sedna.”

Architecture and design firms and artists involved with the selected projects were Alex Israel, AXIS/GFA Architecture + Design, Eric Owen Moss, Hunt Design, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects [LOHA], Mark Mothersbaugh/Mutato Muzika, Mithun | Hodgetts + Fung, Office Untitled, P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, RCDF Studio / Rogerio Carvalheiro , RCH Studios, Refik Anadol, and Steven Kent Architecture

Each of the proposed projects will require review by the city Planning Commission and the City Council before moving forward.

The projects offer a variety of benefits including a new outdoor public gathering space as part of the Sunset Urban Theater, landscaping improvements at the Comedy Store, new parklets, and new seating. “In order to qualify, projects either needed to propose significant building renovations, make substantial upgrades to their facades, and/or undergo required seismic building upgrades,” says the city’s report on the project. “Fourteen of the projects will include varying degrees of building upgrades that will enhance the Sunset Strip and breathe new life into these buildings. Three ground-up new development projects are proposed with the program and mark a major investment for Sunset Boulevard.”

“Each project will contribute to a new digital arts program. The digital signs will dedicate 17.5% of operational time (91,980 minutes per year) to art and/or civic announcements.”

Fees associated with each new sign will include a contribution to help fund the city’s arts programming. The West Hollywood Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission will review and approve the arts programs. Because digital signs can attract greater advertising dollars than traditional billboards, the city anticipates a major increase in the money it receives from the billboard owners.

As to historic and cultural preservation, five buildings have been selected to be designated as city cultural resources as part of the program. Another five will use advertising revenue for the ongoing maintenance and upgrades to historic and culturally- significant buildings. This includes the iconic venues such as the Whiskey, Roxy, Rainbow, and Comedy Store. Others include Gil Turner’s (9101 Sunset), the Beauty Pavilion (8760 Sunset), Constance Bennett Building (8743 Sunset), Burman Furs Building (9069 Sunset), 9157 Sunset, and Piazza del Sol (8439 Sunset).

Below are illustrations of most of the projects.


15 Comments
  1. Can’t WeHo begin by just taxing existing billboards for revenue generation? Seems like a better start?

    Who will ‘own’ the billboards?

    Who are the primary stakeholders?

    Will political propaganda be displayed?

  2. It’s just billboards. Visual pollution. Doesn’t matter what the armature is – it’s lipstick on a pig and an architectural circle-jerk with these starchitects and wannabe starchitects. Embarassing. This does NOTHING for the walkability of Sunset. It won’t drive coolness back. It will look like Howard Hughes Center.

  3. Some of these are really bad, like freshman year of architecture school bad. As a resident on Larrabee for the last 10 years I have to say there are so many smarter things the city council could do to improve the strip. These designs are disappointing for an international tourist destination.

  4. Degrading to the buildings, especially the ones with Historic Resource Designations. An opportunistic financial grab. Any of these signage projects could have been a catalyst for properties in need of redevelopment, but even that would still have been a crude, poorly thought out idea.

    Absence of logic and aesthetics but clearly skilled in passing all the stop signs going straight to the $$$$.

    Please let us know why London, Milan and other cities have not ruined their urban landscapes in this manner.

  5. Much as I like many of these amazing designs, the Strip is already pretty loaded with visual distractions and at some point the advertising revenue will start to cannibalize itself. But the timing is amazing; just before an election where the City Council raised the contribution limit, suddenly the City offers the billboard companies a big bag of goodies. While I would not oppose all new, original signage, I would require a percentage of the new sign revenue to go to the City’s coffers in addition to the mandatory “arts programing”. Otherwise this is just another example of WeHo corporate welfare because these development rights are worth millions. Unfortunately you can’t take the “ho” out of some of our WeHo Council members.

  6. THERE IS NO BUISNESS COMING INTO WEHO, JUST LIKE MOST OF THE US AND A MAJOR PORTION OF THE WORLD FROM THE “PANDEMIC”

    NO SIGNAGE, BRIGHT COLORFUL LIGHTS OR ANY PHYSICAL ACTION TAKEN TO “IMPROVE” BUILDS, STREETS, BILLBOARDS OR ANYTHING AT ALL.

    100% OF OUR CITY’S RICH PROSPERITY CHANGING ALMOST OVERNIGHT WAS THE RESULT OF THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC.

    THE ONLY HOPE IS IF TRUMP GETS A REAL DOCTOR WITH THE HIGHEST PSYCHIATRIC MD CREDENTIALS, WHO WOULD FIND HIM INCAPABLE OF REASONABLE RATIONAL THOUGHT AS IS A DANGER TO THE LIVES OF ALL AMERICANS AND A DAILY GROWTH OF THAT DANGER TO THE POPULATION OF PEOPLE LIVING ANYWHERE ON EARTH.

  7. Incredibly sad and unfortunate that the famed Sunset Stripe is replying on gross advertising to up its appeal. This is disgusting pimping out of a landmark historical area. How much is the city council makings on the side to prostitute this stripe of street?

  8. The billboard across from Andaz hotel is a hazard to see when it “POPs” at you at nighttime traveling westbound.

    1. I just hope that there are “daytime” and “nighttime” lumen levels that adjust accordingly.

    2. Also… a 2 second “fade in and out” so that it doesn’t mess up your concentration.

    3. Only still images.

    If only I was mayor of this town… or at least had a Bigger voice… maybe… one day.

  9. The last “revitalization” of Sunset was a horrible mess and the remnants of that fiasco are still in existence. I hope that they get rid of that trash before moving on to this new project.

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