Visiting Sydney? Look out towards North Sydney for the cities newest Coca-Cola sign.

The sign adorns the Coke headquarters at Coca-Cola Place in North Sydney, home to the company since its move from Circular Quay in 2010. The construction of the sign is the culmination of three years of work, says Leo Roberts, Group Marketing Manager of Coca Cola South Pacific.

“The concept was in place before we moved in,” he says, "and involved discussions with our bottling partner Coca-Cola Amatil about what type of sign we might want to erect, what it would look like, and what the engineering challenges were.”

The final design features Coca-Cola’s Spencerian script logo, and is split into two components: an east-facing elevation and one looking south. The southern sign is the larger of the two, measuring 14.5 metres in length by 4.6 metres in height. The eastern elevation is 11 metres long and 3.5 metres high.

The sign, an aluminium lightbox, appears white during daylight hours, while at night the logo is illuminated red until 1am, a design feature incorporated into the plans following a special request by a prominent Sydney resident, the Sydney Observatory.

“From some of our floors here at North Sydney, we get a very good view across the bridge and you can see the Sydney Observatory. Initially we intended the sign to be illuminated white at night, but they asked for the illumination to be red,” says Leo.

In order to honour the Sydney Observatory’s request to remove any white light that may interfere with their telescope’s view into space, Claude Neon, the company that manufactured and installed the sign, had to come up with an innovative solution.

“It’s something that I’ve never done in 20 years in the business,” says Thomas Lang, Senior Project Manager at Claude Neon. “We put red vinyl on the back of its white polycarbonate base, and then filled the box with red LED lights.”

Claude Neon completed the sign’s fabrication and installation in 19 weeks. The manufacturing process was straightforward, says Thomas, despite the challenges presented by the logo’s unique curves.  

“The aluminium was curved and cut into shape, welded together, and the white polycarbonate face fitted, and then the LEDs glued into place,” he says. “There’s about 4,800 LEDs that illuminate both signs, 1,700 on the east and 3,100 on the south.”

LED lights have many advantages over neon. They use about 60 percent less power than conventional neon fluorescent tubes, and each light shines for 50,000 hours – which means fewer light bulb changes.