The new Loews Chicago Hotel tower is rounding the final corner in its effort to be built, but there's one big thing that no one is talking about: its sign. Construction of the Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) designed tower began last spring, and the new hotel is slated to open early next year. The 52 story tower recently received a large LOEWS sign near its top floors, but no one has said a word. Earlier this year, news broke that Donald Trump would be installing a rather large sign to the side of the Trump International Hotel & Tower, and in May, work on the new sign began. The media frenzy that would follow reached fever pitch, as the news of Donald's new sign made national headlines. And as Chicagoans debated over the merits of the sign, Mayor Emanuel got involved, calling it a "blemish" and "tasteless". So where's the outrage over the Loews Hotel's new sign? There may be a few things going on.
First, at 52 stories, the Loews is nearly half the size of the Trump Tower. Second, the tower was not designed by one of the most famous architects in the world. One major point of contention over the Trump sign is that it is placed directly along the Chicago River, and its 20 foot tall letters have a commanding presence over one of the busiest tourist attractions in the city. Although the Loews Hotel is not in the heart of downtown Chicago or the Riverwalk, the sign is still clearly visible from the Chicago River. Finally, the name Loews doesn't have the same effect on people that Trump does. In a way, much of the outcry over Trump's sign had more to do with the guy than the sign itself.
So where do we go with signs? The city has always had them, but some seem to go against the grain. City Hall has even started mulling over ways to limit or restrict new signage on downtown towers, but any future ban on large unsightly signs could be a long way off.