From The Strip to KM 1187

John Hill
11. March 2020
Photo © Adrià Goula

Inspired by the iconic signage of the Las Vegas Strip, architects Carmelo Zappulla and Chu Uroz have transformed Jané Winestore in Tarragona, Spain, into a bold typographical box that signals to passing drivers the wines and other liquors inside the store.

We have been enamored with architecture that incorporates large-scale type for a while — at least since the 2014 release of Steven Heller and Mirko Ilić's Lettering Large: Art and Design of Monumental Typography. The facade of Jané Winestore by Carmelo Zappulla, of External Reference, and Chu Uroz echoes many examples in that book, while also referencing the influential book Learning from Las Vegas. In that classic, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour argue for simple sheds with communicative signage rather than so-called "ducks," in which the forms buildings express their contents. Jané Winestore clearly opts for the "decorated shed" by stacking words across its main facade, acknowledging its location at KM 1187 along the busy roadway between El Vendrell and Comarruga.

The signage-facade is most prominent at night thanks to a programmable LED lighting system. (Photo © Adrià Goula)
The three-dimensional yellow words literally stand out from the flat words in white. (Photo © Adrià Goula)
Unlike the arrangement of the words on the facade, the inside is clearly ordered, with six aisles and a mezzanine. (Photo © Adrià Goula)
The large-scale typography continues inside, in the numbering of the aisles on the floor ... (Photo © Adrià Goula)
... and in the KM 1187 tasting area in one corner of the decorated shed. (Photo © Adrià Goula)

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