When Doug Hamm, owner of San Diego’s Black Swan Hospitality, decided to offer a European beer hall experience in his company’s new Nolita Hall restaurant/bar in San Diego’s Little Italy, he knew he was looking to do something special with the space.
Hamm contacted local San Diego design firm Tecture Inc. and charged it with creating a fun, modern establishment with a nod to European tradition-specifically, old-style Italian design. Tecture did the design but also decided to contact Philadelphia’s Oat Foundry, which purports to be the only North American manufacturer of the old-school train station-style “split flap” signage.
Tecture put Hamm, also president and founder of Creative House, which owns several San Diego area properties, in touch with Oat Foundry, and Hamm loved the idea of a split flap sign that would be unlike anything else found in the city.
Hamm asked Oat Foundry what the largest split flap sign they had ever built was, and asked for one larger. Aside from making announcements and advertising the craft beers on tap, the sign would name-in real time-the airline flights that were flying overhead to or from San Diego International Airport. The planes are clearly visible through the restaurant’s 60′ x 10′ skylight.
Oat Foundry built a 10-row, 32-column split flap sign, which measures 65″ x 96″. Oat Foundry installed it by hand, and the company’s programming services department created a custom flight tracker to feed real-time flight info into the sign. The split flap sign displays the flight information just as the plane is flying over the establishment.
“Oat Foundry did a fantastic job,” says Hamm. “We were incredibly excited to have a Split Flap.”