Arches punctuate the distinctive architecture of St. Mark’s School in Southborough, MA. The 150-year old institution has a dedicated faculty, alumni, and more than 350 students, many of whom live on St. Mark’s campus. When it was time to update interior signage, it had to be carefully designed to add to, rather than distract from, the historic private school.
Metro Sign & Awning had created other signs for the school, including a hand-carved donor sign. The sign was created by our in-house Design Department to echo the school’s distinctive arches and hand-crafted by our Fabrication Department.
For this most recent project, the administration contacted Metro Sign & Awning’s Keene, NH location for conceptual designs for the new interior signage.
Strong, Beautiful New Material Perfect for Historic, Innovative School
It didn’t take long for the Metro project team to realize the signs would have to be durable, beautiful, and extremely well-crafted. Early in the process, Metro’s design and fabrication team several acrylics as potentially ideal material for the new signs – particularly one honoring special donors.
A variety of acrylic materials have special pigment properties that provides an especially beautiful lighting effects. Although several concepts and other (lower cost) materials were presented, ultimately, the school selected the designs Metro Sign & Awning recommended using a very high-end acrylic material. Because the signs – and one recognizing donors, in particular, occupy very prominent places in the school’s main building, they are highly visible to the majority of students, faculty and staff as well as school visitors.
Working with high end acrylics is a delightful challenge for experienced designers and fabricators.
Thanks to unique properties in the material, designers and fabricators can coax special lighting effects out of their designs – but some of those unique properties present challenges, as well.
“The acrylic has a green tint that only shows on the cut edges – very similar to the old style green glass that you have to look at sideways to notice the color,” said Designer Susan MacGregor.
Also, because the material is expensive, designers must provide the most precise specifications possible, and fabricators must be very skillful to avoid any damage to the high-end material.
Metro Sign & Awning’s team was undaunted, however, and perfectly communicated the design intent. The signs artfully connect both the school’s history and its vision for students for today and tomorrow. One jewel that stands out among the school’s interior signs is the intricately-crafted Potter-Miller Prize plaque honoring selected school trustees, with Its routed wood arch and copy printed directly onto the acrylic surface.
Installed On Time, With Plans for the Future
Installation of the interior signage at St. Mark’s was scheduled to minimize disruption for the school’s students, faculty and staff. And because the school is always looking forward, as well as honoring the past, it asked Metro Sign & Awning to plan for a matching sign, to be installed as soon as needed.
We were pleased to help the school honor its heritage and supporting donors, and think all signs point to growth for St. Mark’s and its students!