Do you know what mainstay of modern urban design was first spotted along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile nearly 40 years ago? The answer: light pole banners.
Back then, Emil Harley, a suburban florist, decorator, and former marine, applied his ingenuity to creating colorful, high-flying, fabric expressions of civic pride and culture that could be mounted 20 feet above ground and still withstand the mighty winds blowing off Lake Michigan. It worked. By the early ‘80s, the streets of Chicago were festooned with banners from museums, colleges, theaters, zoos, festivals, and more. Cities across the country soon jumped on the banner wagon, from New York and Nashville to Miami Beach and St. Louis, from Dallas and Phoenix to San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Also appearing on this list: Highwood, Illinois!
At this week’s Highwood City Council meeting, Street Level Studio’s exciting design concepts for the city’s brand-new light pole banners were unanimously approved and applauded. The finished banners will line the streets later this summer. Curious about what they will look like? Stay tuned!