Original Domino Sugar Factory sign reimagined as a lobby sculpture

May 6, 2024

Photo courtesy of Etienne Frossard

Williamsburg’s original Domino Sugar Factory sign has been given new life as an art installation. Two Trees Management last week unveiled “Untitled (reverse virgule),” which repurposes the iconic yellow Domino Sugar Factory sign into an 11-foot by 36-foot wall sculpture. Created by artist Virginia Overton, the piece sits in the lobby of the Refinery at Domino, a new office building that opened last year within the historic sugar factory building.

Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Public Library
Photo by Max Touhey

Once the world’s largest sugar manufacturer, the factory reopened last September as a 460,000-square-foot office building after closing its doors in 2004.

Originally constructed in 1884, the factory’s most famous version of the “Domino Sugar” sign was installed in 1969 and created by Artkraft Strauss Sign Corporation, a prominent sign design company whose work dominated many of the advertisements seen in Times Square.

The sign holds sentimental value for New Yorkers, as its striking yellow appearance stands out as one of the first things drivers see when entering Brooklyn over the Williamsburg Bridge. In 2014, the sign was dismantled and carefully preserved to make way for the building’s redevelopment.

The replica of the sign was installed in 2022. Photo by Wes Tarca.

In 2022, a replica of the 40-foot Domino Sugar sign was installed and fully illuminated. Unlike the original, the new sign is not neon, but instead is LED, which is brighter and also more environmentally friendly.

Photo: Etienne Frossard
Photo: Etienne Frossard
Photo courtesy of Virginia Overton

“The opportunity to work with salvaged material from the Refinery has been a boon. Reusing existing materials as a way to extend the life of objects is integral to my practice,” Overton said. “It was a privilege to be able to work with a piece of history from America’s industrial heyday and reimagine this historic artifact as a sculpture that honors the sign’s storied past while embracing its possibilities for the future.”

Domino Foods, Inc. endorsed the repurposing of the sign and allowed Overton to go ahead with using the distinct yellow enamel lettering for an abstract wall sculpture.

Photo by Max Touhey

“The Refinery at Domino and its bright Domino Sugar lettering is a New York City icon that has remained a symbol of Brooklyn’s waterfront and industrial heritage for over 150 years,” Kate Gavriel, director of Cultural Affairs at Two Trees Management, said.

“It was incredibly important for us to ensure this lobby exhibition serves as an homage to its roots, and Virginia’s work does a beautiful job at honoring the life cycle of this artifact.”


Explore NYC Virtually

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *