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Unveiling Overland Park's Newest Landmark: The Story Behind the Corner Art Piece

| Written By: Sydney Rosenberg

On the corner of Metcalf Avenue and 159th Street, stands a 13-foot-tall shiny new sculpture dedicated to the city of Overland Park, Kansas. The inspiration for the corner art piece came from the previous flag and logo of the town. Heights Venture wanted to stay true to Overland Park and highlight the city’s unique font with a fun twist of vertical and horizontal elements. Looking closely, you will notice the “O” is not completely symmetrical. This is because the “O” in Palatino Linotype, the font used by the city, is not symmetrical. Walking through the “O”, you’ll notice the “P” on the ground, paved in brick. The “O” and “P” represent Overland Park.

The “O” was also designed to mimic the moon gate incorporated into Panda’s exterior façade. Commonly found in Chinese architecture and gardens, the moon gate is a circular opening that acts as a pedestrian passageway. Heights Venture thought this would be a perfect way to honor Panda’s traditional Chinese roots.

Red and gold were chosen for their connection to Chinese architecture and to reflect the Kansas City Chiefs’ team colors. We saw this opportunity as a win-win, where we could choose colors with both a deeper connection to the city and the client.

One difficult decision was deciding of what material the “O” should be made. Durability, reflexiveness, resistance to graffiti, and cost were carefully considered and discussed in great detail. Heights Venture chose an ALPOLIC finish over an aluminum frame. The shiny material looks beautiful and bright in both the sunlight and glows in the nighttime light.

Heights Venture worked with Maglin to customize a round bench to match the curved “O” shape. The brown color was chosen to blend in with the “P” and not take away from the “O” itself. The bench is made from recycled plastic called high-density polyethylene (HDPE). This material is known for its strength and durability, which is important in a climate that experiences both extreme cold and sun. The bench was added to encourage public engagement with the installation and provide a seat to observe the art. The corner art piece has quickly become a popular destination for photo opportunities and is emerging as an Instagram-worthy spot. If you post a photo of the corner art piece, please make sure to use our custom hashtag #hvacornerartpiece so we can see your pictures!

We would like to take a moment to thank our Heights Venture team for their incredible efforts in bringing this conceptual idea to life! Thank you to Eric Abeln, Michele See, Kyle Swisher, Linda Leonetti, and Sydney Rosenberg.

Heights Venture would also like to thank our Client, Panda Express, for giving us this wonderful opportunity. Specifically, Gaby Abikhalil and Brian Kan, as well as all of the people who support them behind the scenes.

We must also thank and highlight our amazing consultants; Grayling Inc. General Contractors for site and building completion, Allen Industries for creating and installing the “O”, BHC for designing and planting landscaping, James F. Turner Engineers for structural/mechanical/plumbing/electrical engineering, RTM engineering consultants for civil engineering, and Upchurch Kimbrough Company for brick selection and their expertise on thin brick application. Without them, this would not have been possible!

The Panda Express Grand Opening ceremony was held on April 9, 2024. Next time you are in Overland Park stop by to see the corner art piece for yourself and grab some delicious food!

Panda Express: 15890 Metcalf Ave. Overland Park, KS 66223

Photo Credit: Kevin Ashley Photography


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