LELU Exit Sign - Architect Magazine 2016 R&D Awards

Interloop—Architecture saw an opportunity to rework the much-begrudged object required in every building.

The exit sign—humble, omnipresent, code-mandated—is begrudged by designers. Perched above doors and in the nooks of long corridors, its fluorescent letters glow, gleefully indifferent to any adjacent color palettes, finishes, and details. Though essential in emergency situations, the exit sign is often the bane of architecture practitioners.

“We thought it was an area that was ripe for design,” says Mark Wamble, a founding principal of Houston-based Interloop—Architecture. By stripping the sign down to its core—the four letters, E-X-I-T—he and his team have produced a sleek and elegant revision, now available commercially through Architectural Safety Components. Standard exit signs comprise illuminated metal boxes or side-lit panes of rectangular glass. Interloop found that advancements in LED technology—smaller package sizes, increased luminance, and wider cones of light—would allow the letters to stand alone without any framing or housing. With each stroke fully lit and minimally attached to the mounting armature, the letters appear to float in space. ...