With a mix of renovated existing buildings and new construction, Heights Mercantile offers a range of destination dining and shopping in a walkable format.
Designed as a low rise urban-market district by architect Michael Hsu, the project is situated against a new hike and bike trail in the heart of Houston’s Heights historic neighborhood. With approximately twenty curated retailers and restaurateurs occupying the area and both heavy car and foot traffic, Heights Mercantile required visible and identifiable signage and way finding system for drivers and walkers alike.
The development would contain both a pop-up storefront, Space 714, and a retail incubator, Little Mercantile—which would require unified sub brands. For reasons detailed below, there would be no Heights Mercantile primary mark.
Scope of Work
- Logo and visual identity system
- Signage and wayfinding
- Environmental graphics
The development, which is comprised of a new two story construction and several renovated and re-purposed low rise buildings surrounding, nestles against existing residential development and several street thoroughfares. Because of this unique situation, there were a number of physical necessities such as a long wooden fence that runs the entire northern perimeter and a disjointed system parking areas which were aesthetically undesirable.
The developer was adamant that the complex not function under a specific and visible logo, but instead be identifiable as a branded system. This would be expressed through signage, banners, wayfinding systems and notably, several murals which would add interest to problem areas such as the Northern fence line. As the system of connecting parking lots were extremely visible from the second story of the new construction, the choice was made to take the opportunity to paint the parking lot to add interest and aid in navigation.
As inspiration, we looked toward the interests of midcentury designers who combined a state of play with modern design and industrial manufacturing. We wanted to create something which was fun, approachable, and exactly opposed to the luxury decadence promoted by most shopping areas. In short, we desired to build a Case Study house among the faux Tuscan villas.
Our solution utilizes Eames Stencil type and a pairing of four colors and four shapes which would correspond to each cluster of buildings and act as a pattern for the parking lot. These shapes and colors were utilized throughout the development to create unity and act as the building blocks of the system. Coupled with messaging which is welcoming and fun, such as “We meet here and flourish”, the overall system is energetic and effective.