Carolina characters In keeping with Mills Corp.'s typical, larger-than-life style, Concord Mills entertains shoppers with whimsical interpretations of North Carolina culture. Imagery inspired by regional history, crafts and pastimes became the basis of design for the entire center. In the category of New or Renovated Entertainment Centers, Kiku Obata & Co., St. Louis, was awarded the 2000 SAD I for its design work on the development.

Concord Mills is divided into seven neighborhoods, each with its own exterior entrance. Large, recognizable icons mark the major entrances to assist customers in remembering where they entered. Designed on an exaggerated scale, these indigenous North Carolina icons include beach grass, chair backs and an Appalachian whimmy diddle. To further reinforce the customer's memory, mall entries and parking lot ID numbers are marked with distinct colors that are repeated on the mall entrance panels and the exposed steel ceiling joists within the various neighborhoods. All signage refers to the mall logo, based on the popular Carolina Lily quilt pattern.

Within each neighborhood, themed courts offer visual excitement and intrigue. These include the Basketball Court, Music Court, Fashion Court, Craft Court, two Entertainment Courts and a Best Fest Food Court. Each features decorative elements crafted by local folk artists to provide warmth and an entertaining atmosphere.

AWARD RECIPIENT KIKU OBATA & CO. St. Louis * kikuobata.com Kiku Obata; Kevin Flynn, AIA; Dennis Hyland, AIA; Denise Fuehne; Nikki Hite; Jennifer Baldwin; John Scheffel; Kathleen Robert, Tersa Norton-Young; Gen Obata; Jeff Rifkin; Carole Jerome

CLIENT THE MILLS CORP. Arlington, Va. Product Manufacturers/Suppliers: D'Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects, Somerville, Mass. (architects); Mesa Design Group, Dallas (landscape consultant); JK Design Group, Granada Hills, Calif. (lighting consultant); McNamara-Salvia Inc., Boston (structural engineer); National Survey & Engineering, Brookfield, Wis. (civil engineer); TMP Consulting Engineers, Boston (MEP engineers); Schirmer Engineering Corp., Deerfield, Ill. (life safety consultant); Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Alexandria, Va. (construction manager); Mystic Scenic Studios, Sun Valley, Calif. (fabrictor, interior court); Lexington Scenery & Props, Sun Valley, Calif. (fabricator, TV surrounds); Lockwood Sign Group, Charlotte, N.C. (fabricator, exterior and interior signage); Three Point Design, Virginia Beach, Va. (fabricator, folk art); David Allen Co., Raleigh, N.C. (fabricator, terrazzo); Jon Richards Co., Mira Loma, Calif. (fabricator, portals)