For months, fans have been able to see the distinctive exterior of the new Cardinals Stadium gradually take shape in the West Valley. Today, the Arizona Cardinals Football Club unveiled the first extensive look at the building's interior design.
Much like the bold architecture and innovative site plan outside the stadium, the environmental graphic design inside the facility is just as unique and will certainly define and enhance the fan experience.
"Three and half years ago, when we took over the design control of the building, we decided to spend our own money to improve the design and make this the best stadium in the National Football League," said Cardinals Vice President and General Counsel Michael Bidwill. "We wanted to do this from a design architecture standpoint, from an interior standpoint and from a fan perspective."
The Cardinals hired two firms to assist in the interior design of the project: Pentagram, an internationally acclaimed architecture and graphics design firm, and Entro Communications, one of the largest firms in North America dedicated to signage design, graphics, and brand implementation. Both eagerly jumped on board to help create the ultimate fan experience.
"We went with them because they have not done stadiums before," Bidwill stated. "We didn't want to get the 2006 version of what they did in 2005 at someone else's stadium. We wanted new and fresh ideas in order to connect the stadium and the Cardinals and make it a unique place. They came up with some neat graphics and really listened to our direction."
One of the main elements in the environmental graphic design is the Cardinals distinctive birdhead logo. The four colors from it are divided into percentages - red (60%), black (20%), yellow (13%), and white (7%) – which are proportionally integrated throughout the interior of the building. Fans will also see elements of the birdhead such as the beak, feathers and eye of the bird implemented in various ways. Perhaps most prominently, a 60-foot logo will dominate entry at the north end of the stadium.
"The bird head fits perfectly in that slot," Bidwill said. "I think it will be a really exciting thing for fans and it will be a place where a lot of people will want to take photographs there, with that as a backdrop. People will be able to see it as they drive by on the freeway and it is something that will guarantee people will know whose stadium it is and we're pretty excited about that element of it as well."
The team's previously announced partnership with Arizona Highways magazine is reflected prominently in the "strata" that is present within the ramp and escalator areas. To reflect the building's Arizonan influence, each level of the strata comprises images representing five elements of the state's distinctive topography – river, desert, canyon, mountain and sky. As visitors escalate through the various levels of the stadium, they will experience imagery representing each of these elements.
"We wanted to partner with a premiere brand like Arizona Highways to make sure we had excellent quality to add to our interior design. The five elements match up incredibly well with the colors in our team," added Bidwill. "We feel like there is symmetry here and it also connects the building with the state of Arizona in a unique way. With the photography from Arizona Highways the graphics are going to be incredibly high quality and that is going to help set out a new standard of design excellence."
Other elements that will make the Cardinals home a "must-visit" venue that captures the spirit, energy, and passion of the team and the NFL experience include Big Red Thermometers at the south side of the stadium and LED ribbon boards on the fascia of the club level.
"The thermometers will be activated for a lot of different reasons," Bidwill confirmed. "They'll be activated for crowd noise, when we're close to the red zone, they'll be used for different fan interactive games and for sponsorship. There is going to be a lot of fun things that we'll be able to do with them as well as the ribbon boards that will be on the fascia of the club level. It will add to the energy and excitement of an NFL game."
Cardinals Stadium will also feature a rich library of photography outlining the history of the organization. On the concourse level, the eight super columns that hold up the Brunnel trusses that support the retractable roof will also include elements of the franchise's history, records and other items that connect the Cardinals with the state of Arizona.
All of the design efforts were created for the fans as well as to make the Cardinals Stadium a destination that is vibrant, compelling, and fun, but most important, authentic to Cardinals football.
"We wanted to make it an exciting place, one for our passion and energy to be a part of the building," concluded Bidwill. "We wanted to celebrate the fans and the history of the team."
In 2002 when the Cardinals took over design and construction control of the stadium project, the team set out to establish a new standard of design excellence and increased its investment in the project significantly. Since then, the venue has received worldwide acclaim for its distinctive architecture and cutting-edge design and was recently named by Business Week as one of the ten most impressive sports facilities in the world.
Cardinals Stadium will not only feature a retractable roof but will also be the first in the United States to feature a fully retractable grass playing surface. In addition to hosting Cardinals games, the stadium will host Super Bowl XLII in February of 2008. It will also be the annual site of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and will host the first-ever BCS National Championship Game in January of 2007. The stadium will have a seating capacity of 63,000 with the ability to expand to 73,000 for mega-events.