ART & DESIGN

Take Note: acrylicize – design masterminds

James Burke and Paul Arad, the duo behind acrylicize, at offices of Engine Group at Great Portland Street, London

James Burke and Paul Arad, the duo behind acrylicize, at offices of Engine Group at Great Portland Street, London

Giving whole new meaning to the act of ‘decorating the office’, art and design studio acrylicize has made a much sought-after business out of making art work in the workplace

They’ve created design pieces and art installations in the headquarters of some of the biggest brands in the world and it doesn’t look like the work will let up any time soon bit its inception had pretty humble beginnings.

Created whilst at university James Burke, together with his friend Paul Arad, tapped into a concept which looks into new ways of encouraging people outside of the art establishment to engage with art. Burke explains, “I wanted to develop something that could be appreciated by a wide spectrum of people so looked at doing something new with the simple ‘picture on the wall’ concept. The idea of acrylicize was to update the traditional canvas and develop a contemporary alternative using modern materials and technology. That’s where the use of acrylic came in and with it the name acrylicize.”

Feature wall inside the Heinz Innovation Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Feature wall inside the Heinz Innovation Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Dominoes installation at Investream, London

Dominoes installation at Investream, London

Dominoes installation close-up

Dominoes installation close-up

Fast forward a few years and Burke and Arad, from their Shoreditch base, are now stealthily turning more and more work areas into works of art. In fact Burke reveals that 80% of their projects consist of workplace design, “The workspace is one of the places you spend the longest at, so why shouldn’t you have the ability to engage with art there? The environment around us plays a huge part in how we perform and how we spend our time. We live in such a visual society and we believe art can help to stimulate people. People also appreciate the idea that who they work for has invested in the space, creating an environment that makes you happy, a bit more vibrant and a bit more energetic. That goes a long way.”

Heritage wall inside Coca-Cola’s new headquarters at Wimpole Street, London

Heritage wall inside Coca-Cola’s new headquarters at Wimpole Street, London

Coca-Cola heritage wall

ABOVE: “It was an amazing project for us and one that spans three storeys of the building. The project incorporates bespoke art installations, ghost signage hand-painted by master sign writers, heritage memorabilia from the Coca-Cola archive in Atlanta and custom neons.”

Acylicize Google

Graffiti wordsearch at Google’s Dublin headquarters

ABOVE: Burke worked under his “Shesh” tag together with graffiti artists Tizer, Zics and Keim. “We used every genre of graffiti at our spray-canned fingertips, from old-skool styles to more modern looking graff, to highlight the changing nature of the art form. The lift lobby and adjoining cafe were transformed after three days of wordplay and tagging, giving the building’s thousands of employees something to puzzle over. Not wanting to paint just another mural, we loved the idea of playing on the ‘search’ aspect of Google to create this interactive piece.”

LEGO installation at Qubic Tax, Newcastle

LEGO installation close-up

LEGO installation close-up

ABOVE: “We all know tax can be quite a dry subject and no one particularly loves the fact that they have to pay it. Our solution was to create a canvas of over 1,200 LEGO figures, each one representing a tax-paying vocation. We were trying to make something that is genuinely quite hard and dislikeable into something that will put a smile on your face.”

www.acrylicize.co.uk