Three minutes with R. Scott Lewis
The vibrant signs that illuminate Times Square with giant product logos and advertising slogans make the city center the most elaborate marketing jungle in the world.
More than 95 percent of the structures supporting these commercial signs are designed by New Canaanite R. Scott Lewis' eponymous structural engineering firm located in town.
The supports behind Times Square's "Simply Coke" LED screen, wall-mounted Budweiser bottle panel and even the 12,000-pound New Year's Eve ball are all engineered inside the walls of Lewis' Burtis Avenue firm.
"Some day I should stand in the middle of Times Square and say, `I did this one, I did that one and that one,'" Lewis said.
Lewis said he has designed thousands of support systems for signs across New York City. But while the signs are highly visible, the engineering work that secures them usually is not, he said.
"You usually don't get to see our designs because they're hidden behind," he explained. "With the new project we did for American Eagle in Times Square, you actually do get to see our design. You can see it if you're looking from the north."
Launched last year around Thanksgiving, the American Eagle sign is a tall, slender LED screen display spread along the exterior of a three-story building, Lewis said. It weighs about 20 pounds per square foot, he said.
"We strive to design efficient structures that aren't any more expensive than they need to be," he said.
Lewis, who works on projects based out of Boston and Detroit in addition to New York, said he splits his days between his office and the city, where most of his projects unfold.
"I like having a short commute," he said. "My house is four minutes from my office, and I can go into New York when I need to. You can't beat that."
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