The CF Shops at Don Mills is a high-end, open air shopping centre that invites patrons outside to enjoy their shops, restaurants and services while taking in their ambient surroundings. To further the experience, Don Mills needed signage with brightly visible, backlit graphics to provide wayfinding and parking space information that would extend from daytime to nighttime.
An extraordinary shopping mall requires extraordinary partners to fulfill their design needs and AGNORA was up for the fabrication challenge. For wayfinding, the project included five, impressive, 12m tall gateway pylons for the mall’s main entrance and three, 10m tall pylons for the secondary entrance. Twenty-seven 3m tall signs marked the intersections of the mall and provided parking space information.
FUNCTION vs FORM
This project was a design-build project with uniquely challenging aesthetic and graphic needs. In a collaborative process with the sign designer, Jonathan Picklyk of Cygnus and the sign installer, Forward Signs Inc. AGNORA went to “great lengths” to achieve the desired color and preserve the design intent, creating a stunning effect both during daylight and when backlit at night. With dozens of necessary internal samples, the digital ceramic print quality evolved to a standard of level not thought possible.
These digitally printed ceramic frit signs were fabricated using both monolithic and laminated tempered glass. Traditionally, frit is used in spandrel applications. Using frit for a project needing visual integrity -both day and night-on both sides posed technical challenges……(challenge accepted!)
The 12m tall gateway pylons were achieved by stacking 2 x 6m. The graphic pattern transition between the adjoining pieces was seamless due to the precise nature of digital application. AGNORA used the AR8000W DipTech Digital Ceramic Printer to digitally print the ceramic frit ink onto glass. Following the printing process, the ink was baked into the glass in the tempering furnace, literally becoming part of the glass. This process produced the vivid images with an unmatched resistance to scratching, acid, UV light and weather.
QUALITY MEETS COLLABORATION
Internal samples and progressive mock-ups for the project players to test allowed the process to move forward. Working closely with the designer on mock-ups allowed for quality benchmarks to be set during the development process. All project players were then included in site visits at AGNORA’s facility for approvals.
Prior to crating and installation, AGNORA provided in-shop space & time for the customer to complete the panels by applying a diffusion vinyl to the fourth surface of the gateway laminates.
The final results of this project were not only spectacular in scale and beauty, they also represent a technical achievement that has pushed AGNORA’s decorative glass offerings above their own expectations.
“AGNORA not only produced an outstanding print result on time and on budget, they also went out of their way to help us prepare the oversized units ensuring a successful installation. We would welcome any future collaboration we might have with AGNORA, particularly when it comes to complex and oversized projects as this one.” – Philip Ho, Vice President Forward Signs
See more amazing photos of the project here.