When the members of the Milwaukee-based Forest County Potawatomi tribe hired Hnedak Bobo Group (HBG) to lead the $240 million, 500,000 sq. ft. expansion of Potawatomi Bingo-Casino, HBG knew just who to choose to design a complex-wide signage and identification system that would be tested by visitors each day. Lorenc+Yoo worked with HBG to create a unique look for the casino’s expansion project by recalling Native American themes and combining them with modern styles.

The most striking addition to Potawatomi Bingo-Casino can be viewed from a distance: A large tower resembling a glass teepee rises from the surrounding buildings, capped by a bowl that holds a large flame visible from the interstate. The Forest County Potawatomi are the “keepers of the fire,” and as such, fire plays a large part in the signage-identity program. Lorenc+Yoo honored the tradition by incorporating the flame motif into the logo for the casino.

Using color and light, the design team carried the fire motif into other design elements as well. The team decorated cone-shaped outdoor lanterns with Potawatomi-inspired geometric shapes across the face. Reds, oranges and yellows make the pieces pop as they guide visitors to the entrance. Inside, the signage for Ruyi, the casino’s Asian restaurant, and Bar 360, its accompanying circular lounge, have a warm glow against a background of stone.

Potawatomi’s expansion opened in the fall of 2008 to rave reviews. Lorenc+Yoo’s context-inspired signage design will no doubt keep the flame burning for years to come.

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