New Canopy Installed at Kohls Corporate Campus

The expansion that is taking place at the Kohl’s Department Store headquarters in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin is a glimpse into how diverse our company can be. In other words, what business does a Milwaukee-based sign company have building a custom fixture for Kohl’s new employee dining facility?

It comes down to thinking creatively, which is something we do all the time. So the facility planning folks at Kohl’s came to the right place with their challenge. They needed a manufacturer who could not only build what they envisioned, but they needed one that was resourceful enough to find the ideal material and come up with the best approach to make their creative vision a reality.

The design of the new “servery” in their employee dining facility called for a large “canoe” to be installed above it. The idea is very cool and typifies the fondness that Wisconsinites have about our state: we love nature and the outdoors. What evokes a sense of adventure in the outdoors better than a canoe?

Things got started when we received a call from the construction manager from Kohl’s. And it was Mortenson Construction Company that hired us for the project. We helped them develop the concept of how to build it and source the optimal materials for the “skin” of the canoe. At the end of the day, not many companies do this. Very few are equipped to design for a lightweight application and ensure esthetic integrity.

The biggest challenge was finding a way to get the wood grain on it. Wood paneling would have been way too cumbersome. So we explained the best way is using vinyl with a printed graphic that represented the wood grain they desired. We had the printing done by Olympus Group in Milwaukee. They did an awesome job, very helpful and patient in doing all of the samples. In the end, we got the right material and the right ink. We used a solvent ink.

The skin was applied around 1” x 1” square aluminum tube. We built a skeletal frame measuring 8’ 6” X 40’ and halved down the middle. For illumination, the unit includes twelve 6” round recessed LED lights (11 watt).

An additional hurdle was that the unit had to have a sprinkler system built into it. The facility’s sprinkler system runs through the canoe in three places.

For delivery, we arranged for Laufer, a trucking company from Hartford, to provide a flatbed truck with accordion-style sides. We loaded one section at a time on the truck (two trips). Four guys carried each half into Kohl’s facility. The total estimated weight of the canoe is between 500 and 1000 lbs.

Once inside we bolted together the two sides and using drop cable and two scissor lifts, the team carefully suspended the canoe from the ceiling. Our team estimated it would take 2 days to install with a possible 3rd day. We didn’t need the third day.

As you can tell from this photograph taken during installation, the canoe is up and looking very cool. Click here for an inside look at the design, fabrication and installation of this unique architectural enhancement.


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