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CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida, overhead pedestrian directional sign




New Wayfinding for a Revitalized Retail & Entertainment Center.


When this upscale lifestyle center in the heart of Coconut Grove first opened its doors in the early 1990's, it instantly became one of the city's most popular and visited destinations. Both locals and tourists flocked daily to the center to experience its vibrant mix of retail stores, restaurants and entertainment venues. In the years that followed, the market became more and more competitive as new retail and dining offerings throughout Miami and Miami Beach began to lure visitors away from the 'Grove'. When a new ownership group purchased the center and embarked on a  comprehensive renovation of the property, they asked us to help improve the onsite signage and wayfinding. The new owners had an aggressive timeline for the renovation, and we immediately went to work evaluating the existing conditions and making recommendations that would improve the customer experience.


Two onsite parking garages are nestled inside the complex and disappear behind the center's facades. Both garages lacked visibility at their street level entries, and once inside visitors were confronted with a confusing maze. The two garages connect and crossover at their top and bottom levels which disoriented visitors and made it difficult for their customers to identify and remember where they parked. Once on foot, guests struggled to locate the garage elevators, pathways, and access points to the center's amenities. To solve this problem we named and color coded each garage to boldly distinguish one from the other and introduced pedestrian wayfinding inside each garage that directs visitors to elevators, exits, and retail.


CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida,  pedestrian orientation sign
CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida,  Grand Avenue Parking Garage entry sign
CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida,  Grand Avenue Parking Garage pedestrian directional sign
CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida,  Virginia Street Parking Garage pedestrian directional sign


The center's existing directional sign program consisted of custom ceramic wall panels with hand painted text which were beautiful but hopelessly out of date. We designed a new directional program that re-purposed many of the existing ceramic signs, and augmented the system with new wall mounted and overhead signs designed to mimic the original ceramic signs. Both time and budget constraints prevented us from creating actual ceramic signs, and instead careful castings were made of some of the original signs. The molds made onsite were then used to cast the components of the new signs, which were faux finished by hand to match the colors and finishes of the original ceramic signs.


To improve visitor orientation and venue recognition we designed new pedestrian kiosks that house re-designed maps and event information. Because of the center's design, the sight lines to some tenant storefronts were impaired which generated complaints by some existing tenants and made some spaces on the upper levels difficult to lease. To lessen tenant frustration and improve retail awareness and visibility, we designed and located new illuminated hanging and projecting tenant identity signs along the center's open air arcades. In addition, we designed a new exterior facade and tenant identity signage at the center's front entry that provides additional street level visibility and awareness for some of the complex's tenants. This last improvement required a special submittal to the City of Miami and we worked closely with our client all the way through this process to secure the needed approvals and permits.

CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida,  overhead illuminated retail tenant identity sign
CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida, projecting illuminated retail tenant identity sign
CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida, pedestrian directional sign
CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida, new branded identity sign and retail tenant signage facade


In just a short time we had re-worked the center's wayfinding and designed a new program that would resolve existing problems and enhance the user experience. We created detailed sign location plans and sign message schedules, and a complete set of design intent drawings that detailed all of the proposed new sign types. To bring the new designs to reality, we assisted the owners with bidding and awarding the project to two local sign fabricators that we knew could get the job done in exceptional fashion. With no time to waste, both fabricators hustled to build and install the new signage in time for the center's grand re-opening. In just a few months time we were able to help transform the complex, improve retail recognition, and significantly improve the visitor experience.

CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida, sign design intent drawing
CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida, pedestrian orientation sign design intent drawing
CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida, pedestrian overhead directional sign design intent drawing
CocoWalk, Coconut Grove, Florida, illuminated overhead retail tenant identity sign design intent drawing