University of Portland Pilot Club

The Chiles Center arena is home to the University of Portland Pilots athletic teams, and host to countless celebrities and dignitaries in its 35-year history. And now, it also houses a VIP space where special donors can meet before games and at half-time. Premier Press designed, spec’d, fabricated and installed all the elements of the new Pilot Club.

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The mastermind behind the design was Premier’s creative team, with fabrication and installation muscle from our project management team. The plan included recommendations for furniture, fixtures, benches, faux hedges, planters, lighting, and environmental graphics. We wanted to give the space a warm, welcoming, club-style feeling, with, of course, Pilot branding throughout.

Where there used to be fluorescent white lighting and pipe-and-drape walls, we softened the feel of the space with overhead drop-down lights, and installed a set wall with LEDs creating a wall wash in the Pilots’ signature purple. A main wall feature is a large Pilot anchor logo, also backlit with purple LEDs. The bar is built of plywood with color-core white laminate, and we included a debossed Pilot logo on the front.

The space is surrounded by a recreational running track in the Pilots’ signature purple color. Our challenge was to match Pilot Purple across all materials – the fabric banners, the paint for the wall graphics, and the vinyl for the bench seating. We took samples from the track surface in order to create custom paint for the walls and custom ink for the banners. As for the vinyl seats, we found an existing source that was a great match.

The new space not only looks great, it’s practical. The bar also serves as a storage area, and some of the set walls are on casters so they can be easily moved to access a storage area for tables and chairs.

The Pilot Club opened in 2020 for the basketball season, and we hope it will be used and enjoyed for many years to come.

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