Is This Space-Age Monolith The Future Of Billboard Marketing?
The West Hollywood City Council will be mulling over a proposal for "The Belltower," a billboard project that also includes a small plaza.
On the surface, this news may seem pretty humdrum, as West Hollywood is no stranger to public advertising. But the thing is that The Belltower isn't just any ordinary billboard. According to WeHoVille, it's slated to be a 72-foot, three-sided structure that "incorporates a digital and a static screen as well as projected media."
The project gets a even bigger sell on the architect's website (because of course it would). According to Tom Wiscombe Architecture, the featured media will run the gamut, ranging from pop-culture to conceptual art:
On its diamond-like outer petals, the Belltower provides for a combination of commercial media, feed from cultural events (such as the recent Elton John/ Lady Gaga appearance at Tower Records), branding and news for the City of West Hollywood, and video art interventions curated by our partner the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA). This diverse range of content will be composed into a serene, and sometimes surprising, experience that is woven into the everyday life of local residents.
Another interesting bit is that the structure is hollow (we mean literally, hah!), which means you can walk inside and get more of your fill of constant stimuli. You can see in this video that there's a space inside The Belltower for all those cute, little T-1000s to huddle in:
If approved, The Belltower will be built on a public lot at 8775 Sunset Blvd. The city is also fielding billboard proposals from nine different design teams for that location, but it's The Belltower that the city's Community Development Department will be urging the Council to endorse. Orange Barrel Media, one of the companies behind this proposal, says that the city will get a minimum of $4.5 million in advertising revenue over five years if the project is approved. Even if an endorsement is granted, however, The Belltower will still have a long way to go—it faces a lengthy process that will include contract negotiations and an environmental review report. And let's not forget that the Council will likely have to field some (possibly contentious) public comments from residents.
Perhaps you're a little worried because you're not down with The Belltower? Maybe you're afraid that a similar project will come to your neighborhood, and suddenly you'll be radiated with a constant stream of light and noise? You can calm down (for the most part) because it's unlikely that big, digital billboards will be coming to your part of town. This is because the City of Los Angeles enacted an ordinance in 2002 that placed heavy restrictions on where new billboards can go up. Regarding digital billboards, they may only be put up in certain "sign districts," which are mostly focused in West Hollywood, Hollywood, the Staples Center/L.A. Live area, and LAX.
Anyway, let's look back at the first billboard our species had ever encountered: