The Pic of the Month is a fun look at the behind the scenes antics and events from some memorable architectural images.

#8     Gotta Have Initials,

I'm reminded of the company my wife, Mame worked for in 1985. The company was known as GHI, an Interior design firm in San Francisco. When I asked her what G H I stood for, her reply was that "The principals chose the initials merely to have initials." SOM, HOK, EPR, SMWM, RMW, IA, BAR. GE, the world of design and business is cluttered with initials. (Too Many)
So in an effort to play with the bigger firms, GHI stood for   Gotta have Initials.

The company later merged with other firms, and now has real initials.

It's all in the name:     AIA

In 1997 I was assigned to shoot the newly renovated San Francisco offices of the AIA (American Institute of Architects).
The offices had been occupied for a few months. Interface Flooring Systems (Bentley Carpet Mills) supplied and manufactured the carpeting for the project. They were interested in publishing photos showing how their product
complimented this high profile location...


Client: Interface Flooring Systems
Contact: Nanci Scoular
Assistant: Ron Igoe

Sometimes artwork and signage are the last items to go into a finished site. Sometimes they never get installed.
I have always felt that pictures that show signage are stronger than ones without. A tasteful sign is always a plus. There
is a natural desire to know where you are. Signs give prestige and are very calming to people who are lost.

Anyway, I showed up to take this cool shot of the AIA offices, AND THERE IS NO SIGN, nada. Time to ponder and scratch your head. The mind races for fast options, Flowers, sculpture, anything...Help...
Calmly, with a smile, I turn to the client and ask if perhaps I should make a sign?
She laughs and becomes a bit curious.

The hunt begins...

  Step One: Find something in the office with the AIA logo on it. Found - Stationary, size 8 1/2 x 11 inches. Too small...
  Step Two: Find a xerox machine that enlarges. They have one on site...
  Step Three: Enlarge repeatedly on the xerox until the the 1 inch letters of the stationary are each 30 inches tall.
  Step Four: Piece and tape the giant sections of xeroxes to form the large letters.
  Step Five: Go to the art supply across Market Street(daytime shoot), a few blocks away to buy Foamcore board and red ink.
  Step Six: Trace the letters onto the Foamcore board as points using a push pin to mark the borders. Cut out the large letters with a matte knife.
  Step Seven: Apply red ink with a speedball roller purchased from the Art supply store.
  Step Eight: While still wet(no time to wait), carefully tack the letters to the wall with a couple of push pins.

Time: About 1.5 Hours. Cost: About $35. Result: Effective.
Sometimes a last minute change can make all the difference.
After all you "Gotta Have Initials".
(Although in reality, the letters dried unevenly and warped severely. From the camera this problem was not visible)

Doug Salin
Douglas A. Salin Photographer
647 Joost Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94127

PS - The Shoot in Dubai went well. Returned safely. All my bags were lost for 2 days. Ouch. Clothes lost for 4 Days. Nice place. Nice People. I hope to return to Dubai someday.

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