Graphic designer Emily Forgot and 3D artist Laurie D have installed a monochrome office made of paper and card at Wieden + Kennedy’s London headquarters, allowing passers-by and internet users to watch the agency’s staff at work.
Throughout August, W+K employees will take it in turns to work from the pop-up space displayed in the window of its Hanbury Street office. Those who find watching others clear their inbox and eat their sandwiches compulsive viewing can watch a live stream during office hours at reallifewk.com.
The window display is the latest in a series commissioned by W+K for its Hello Neighbour project, which aims to showcase the work of local artists and entertain passers-by. Previous installations include ghostly apparitions at Hallowe’en and a Wooden Union Jack design to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee.
“Recently we’ve been looking at ways to use our office spaces more effectively, specifically in terms of creating little quiet areas for people to use. Around the same time, we found ourselves pondering what could feature in our window space next. I think it was an off the cuff remark of ‘we could always work in the window’ that started the ball rolling and the rest just fell into place,” says Karen Jane, who commissioned the project.
“We knew we wanted something graphic and impactful and that felt like a very simple but charming vector world. By chance, Emily had just been in contact with Wieden’s and had been referred to us to do an exhibition in our stairwell. Her work was perfect for this and translated brilliantly into a 3D shape,” she adds.
As well as reflecting her own surreal and playful style, Emily Forgot [Emily Alston] – who has designed window displays for Selfridges, Harrods and Italian retailer La Rinascente – says the project is inspired by the work of Lichtenstein and Memphis artist George Sowden.
“I quite liked the idea of the window looking like an over sized comic book though (hence lots of heavy black outlines). Lichtenstein coincidently had his retrospective on at the Tate when I was working on the initial design and Sowden’s room drawings inspired me to use lots of pattern in the final one,” she adds.
Alston’s 2D work was brought to life with 3D touches modelled by Laurie D, who has worked at Heatherwick’s design and architecture studio and United Visual Artists. Laurie has experimented with chemicals and props including hydrogen, washing up liquid and recycled batteries for Nike, Adidas, Duracel and Stella McCartney campaigns.
Her moving additions include a phone that rocks as if constantly ringing, a clock that runs backwards and an anglepoise lamp that switches on and off. “We wanted to give this office space with a view its own life,” she says.
The project is the first collaboration between Laurie D and Alston – “but hopefully one of many,” Alston adds.