in the news (129)

0 layout(s)

july 2016 | by leia reedijk

It is one of the most basic principles of design — the grid. Designing on a grid makes information accessible to the user, helps organize and create a hierarchy of information, and above all is pleasing to the human eye. It is all about balance, ratio, and rhythm. However, as Pablo Picasso said, "Know the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."

The sign package that Sea Reach developed for the San Juan Preservation Trust is all about breaking the grid. Instead of locking the text and images into a rigid structure, these layouts are all about the elements’ relationships to each other. Building from one point, so that each element references the others, creates a different kind of movement and flow within the design. The splashes of color and images across the panels are reminiscent of the scattering of islands in the Salish Sea that make up the San Juan Archipelago. The text, woven among images, contrasts the geometric and organic. What at first glance seems random has an overarching harmony based on counterbalance and context.

0 layout(s)

june 2016 | by jacob cordova-krahn

Joining the team at Sea Reach has been an exciting experience! I am learning new print production skills, creating conceptual designs for visitor centers, and making artwork for exhibit panels. Two of my first projects have been producing exhibit designs for the historic U.S. Custom House in Astoria, Oregon and creating conceptual designs for McKinney Falls State Park near Austin, Texas.

It's been a joy to utilize my propensity for illustration on the Astoria project. For one of the exhibits I got to create an imaginative scene of the interior of the Custom House set way back in 1849! The scene is filled with a few colorful characters and objects relevant to the time period. I enjoyed learning about the history of Astoria and the Custom House—the first U.S. customs office on the West Coast. I also found researching and working with historic photos to be eye-opening, greatly enhancing my appreciation for Oregon history.

For McKinney State Park, I worked with the rest of the Sea Reach team to create concepts for a complete redesign of the visitor center there. It was great to collaborate with other talented designers to push our imaginations to their limits, coming up with some very fun and interactive ideas. One of my favorites is the giant interactive map that leads a viewer through the "El Camino Real," highlighting the experiences of different types of characters you'd expect to find on the path during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

I'm excited to see these projects come to fruition and to be a part of the team at Sea Reach!

0 layout(s)

june 2016 | by cory schott

Sea Reach is developing designs for two visitor centers in Texas. Since both of these projects involve the interpretation of the region when it was a colony of Spain, I was tasked with bringing everyone up to speed on the colonial history of Texas. I graduated in colonial Mexican (and Texas) studies, so this was right up my alley.

Because I work with a visual people, I crafted a presentation that focused heavily on a few key narratives and dazzled them with imagery and textures. Broad swaths of political history were eschewed in favor of illustrative examples. Colorful period maps, carved stone facades, iron implements, and fanciful details from colonial documents let the flavor of the period sink in.

In the end, two concepts seemed particularly important for our purposes. The first is that Texas truly was on the edge of Spain’s empire—just barely connected to the administrative centers in Spain and Mexico City. This sometimes allowed for more fluidity in frontier society. The other is the role of the environment played in the placement of towns, presidios, and missions. In this arid part of the world, development and travel needed to be carefully considered.

1 photo(s)

june 2016 | by linda repplinger

I just returned from attending a workshop at the National Park Service headquarters in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, for three national firms (of which Sea Reach is one) that recently earned an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to create wayside exhibits in national parks and historic sites.

The trip was abundant with charming experiences. The narrow roads of Harpers Ferry wind down steep hillsides and are closely lined with tall rustic buildings, dating back to the early 1800s. We stayed in an old stone inn, tucked into a nook in the valley’s rocky edge. The next day started with a walk up the Appalachian Trail to Jefferson’s Rock to watch the sun rise over the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers—the scent of damp stone and honeysuckle vines mingled with the call of cardinals. As the sun rose, it highlighted individual trees along the dark sides of the valley. Thomas Jefferson wrote of this view:

"The passage of the Patowmac [Potomac] through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature. You stand on a very high point of land. On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain a hundred miles to seek a vent. On your left approaches the Potomac [Potomac] in quest of a passage also. In the moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder and pass off to the sea.… This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic."

Jefferson’s rock was smattered with the names of many others who also felt compelled to commemorate their presence here.

With a nod to the design department at Harpers Ferry, who emphasized honing the interpretation of waysides down to the simplicity, intensity, and direct expression of a subject, I sum up this experience with a haiku.

confluence of time
many feet have traveled through
some have just begun

24 photo(s)

june 2016 | by melissa boettcher

We just finished a whirlwind installation trip on the McKinley Chalets Denali campus for a new construction site. Our first stop was to pick up our installation vehicle for the week. As the towering truck pulled up next to us, I gazed up at it and wondered how the heck I was supposed to get into that back seat! A running leap was out of the question. After a few tries, I managed to scramble up. Two hours later we arrived at our final destination, Denali. I leaped out of the truck (literally) and we unpacked the crate to get to work.
We started by setting up an assembly shop in the lobby of the building where we were being housed. From the heights of the towering truck, we now got low: crawling around the floor to prep signs going out on site: new room signs, directionals, identifiers, tenant markers, and more.

Next, we found ourselves back up high. Peter and Chino had to stretch to reach to the bolts to tighten down the fancy new ADA compliant ID signs. We had to build scaffolding to reach 12 ft. above the kitchen in Karstens Restaurant, were we were painting a stencil. Leia and Susan scaled the bars along the side to work on the massive stencil.

Up and down, high and low… we installed four interpretive signs about Denali and its history on the deck rails surrounding the Square, hauled hefty concrete bases for new directionals, then rolled out the double-sided bulletin cases for menus and threaded some banners on the lower rail to polish them up. We also patched up and updated a few signs for the Princess Wilderness Lodge.

In the end we were successful installing all the signs needed to tie together the new chic shopping, dining, and entertainment center for McKinley Chalets… and I was sore from having to climb in and out of that truck!

17 photo(s)

may 2016 | by linda repplinger

Signage in general seems to be getting bigger, brighter, and flashier. Instead, let’s create intimate exhibits and hide them in the landscape — beckoning visitors to discover them.

This is the concept behind the exhibits along the Auke Lake Trail in Juneau, Alaska—a trail loved by locals and occasionally discovered by a few of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to Juneau each summer.

The exhibits range in size from 7" to 16". They’re camouflaged, taking their shapes from objects around them, such as skunk cabbage leaves, a section of Sitka spruce bark, and a local fungus called bear’s bread. Grouped by topic in sets of two, three, or four, they may take you off the path into the forest, or along a floating boardwalk, or beside a stream.

One exhibit in each set contains an open-ended question and a QR code that links to the City’s website with further information and suggested activities. By using the QR code, you may see an eagle fly in slow motion, or a squirrel demolish a pinecone in less than 5 seconds. Each exhibit set also has a copper relief illustration (a dragonfly, a squirrel, a mushroom) so children (and adults) can collect rubbings as a memento of their visit.

3 photo(s)

may 2016 | by susan jurasz

I admit, I am a little nervous. We have an eight-foot by six-foot sign to hand-paint on custom tongue and groove barn wood, twelve feet above the floor in a brand new fancy restaurant. Holland America Princess (the cruise line) just added new visitor amenities to their McKinley Chalets campus. Sea Reach did all the planning, design, fabrication, and installation of the signage required to open the new facility: code signs, building identities, pedestrian directionals, maps, regulatory and warning signs, and interpretive exhibits all had to be designed and installed by May 14th…

…including this new restaurant sign. The intent is to make the sign look as though it has weathered in place, but that rough look takes lots of care; there can be no mistakes! We borrow scaffolding from the general contractor on site, and two of us start work first thing in the morning. It takes nearly two hours to get the stencil level and centered on the wall. From there, it’s a slow sponge painting process—the paint has to be just thick enough so that it will not bleed under the stencil. Bit by bit, the sign begins to reveal itself. The final result: just what the client wanted. Whew!

5 photo(s)

may 2016 | by peter reedijk

A reasonably simple challenge: fabricate a fifty-foot outdoor semi-circular mural that can withstand intense sunlight and extreme temperatures, mount it on a cinderblock wall that may not actually be a perfect half circle, and incorporate an easy mechanism for replacing sections of the mural in the future. No problem!

The resulting mural is fabricated out of high-pressure laminate panels—as large as we could possibly make them. The structure is one continuous aluminum frame. Due to the size of the structure, and the expansion and contraction of materials, particularly aluminum over this length, we designed the mural in a series of overlapping or "shingled" panels. This allows the mural to grow and shrink in the changing temperatures and provides the client an inexpensive solution to replace parts in the future.

8 photo(s)

april 2016 | by susan jurasz

If you were privileged to go on grade school field trips, then you may empathize with me when I say that field trips were momentous events in my childhood. A field trip was the first time I held a boy’s hand (in the back of the bus) and a field trip was where I learned that the money you put into the bank is not exactly the same money they give back to you. The first time I ever thought about electricity was on a field trip to a hydropower station. I still hear the deafening sound of the water surging through the turbines and feel the fine mist as water was pulverized.

Today, we are designing experiences for school kids to learn, via hands-on experiments, about the tremendous technological leaps of the industrial age. At the Lowell National Historic site, miles of brick buildings once comprised a massive industrial cotton mill complex. In the late 1800s, water was channeled to run huge turbines beneath each building. The turbines turned a complex system of pulleys (three to four stories high). The rotational movement of the pulleys was transformed into up and down movements using pistons and cams. All this energy, starting with the movement of water, was used to transform tufts of cotton into fine linen.

I was astounded at how much I learned as we worked with the University of Massachusetts and the National Park Service to design exhibits that allow students to experientially learn about the innovations of the industrial age.

9 photo(s)

april 2016 | by peter reedijk

I remember the distinct "aha moment" when I found out that the Milky Way was the spiral arm of our galaxy. And growing up in Southeast Alaska, away from city lights, I got to see the milky way regularly. In college, I was struck again, when my astronomy professor said that there are millions of solar systems — in our galaxy and beyond. Recently, I saw a Omimax presentation about the Hubble Space Telescope, where we are now photographing other galaxies and naming them.

Why all this star talk? We just finished installing a mural of the night sky in the Great Basin National Park Visitor Center. The park was designated to protect and celebrate the Great Basin — one of the largest land-bound watersheds in the world. The Great Basin drains 200,000 square miles into lakes, not into an ocean (that’s why the Great Salt Lake is so salty!) Great Basin National Park also includes one of the largest stands of bristlecone pines (the oldest living things on earth) and the Lehman caves. Today, there is also the recognition that this area is great for star gazing. Miles of flat scrublands, relatively low mountains, and no city lights — here, you can still see the Milky Way on a nightly basis.

The mural surrounds the theater room. When you sit down, you are surrounded by the night sky in a rich indigo blue. Along the bottom perimeter, if you look closely, you can see desert inhabitants amount the sagebrush: a coyote, cougar, hare, deer, and bats. You are in good company.

left left
left left