LAFAYETTE — The "Lafayette" sign stands in the heart of downtown, dripping in colorful designs, leaving many who walk past it wondering... what does it mean?
Adam Ortego, the Vice President for the American Institute of Architecture Students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and one of the artists for the sign, says that the design was part of an initiative to get students involved in the community.
"We wanted to offer our peers an opportunity to get collaborative within our disciplines, and have an opportunity to do something engaging with the community that was outside of our academic environment," says Ortego. "So we decided to host a competition where we posed to our peers, what is design, what is it all about and how do you explain it to people when they ask what you do and what you're studying in school."
The winner of that competition was "Abstraction of Design", which was both designed and painted by Ortego and his peer, Emily Barrett and holds a deeper meaning to the colorful display.
"We really wanted to show the community the process of going through a design," says Ortego. "Starting with something that is void and null, and not really anything. Then giving it all of the options. Studying all of the things that it could be and all of the influences it could have. And then finally refining it in the end to something that is designed and really detailed and complex."
That process is displayed on each letter in the sign, starting with a simple design on the "L", then slowly adding more colors and shapes to the middle letters, and finally piecing together something intricate on the last "E".
He says that the community as a whole has offered so much inspiration to the design students at UL, and having the opportunity to paint such an iconic symbol in the community is their way of giving back.
"I think that's really the key... helping design students get out into the community, and finding those opportunities where we can contribute," says Ortego. "I think it will create a longer and more sustainable impact from all of us on what we can give back to this place that has given us so much."
Ortego hopes that for those passing by, that they will not only be able to enjoy the sign for it's vibrant colors, but also really appreciate the process that goes into creating art.
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