2004 - branded wall art

Sunday, April 18, 2004 by Douglas And Gordon

Branded Wall Art

If you’ve visited a D&G office recently...

you may have noticeda luminous installation in shades of blue glowing subtly on the wall. It is the work of architectural glass artist Kate Maestri, who is known for her clean lines, glowing colours and minimal designs. She has created a rainforest ceiling for an NHS trust, a glass entrance hall for Morgan Stanley and illuminated glass benches for the Open University Business school, in addition to many private commissions. D&G managing director Ivor Dickinson heard of Kate via a specialist refurbishment company he was using and immediately saw the potential of her work in connection with the company. ‘Having seen some pictures of her work I hotfooted it to her studios in the Oxo Tower Building , where it was love at first sight (with her work that is!)’ he says. ‘I adored the texture of the glass and her very clever use of colour combinations and decided there and then that we had to work together.

The process

Kate and Ivor looked at colours and glass samples and chose 10 different shades of blue in line with the Douglas & Gordon branding. Kate then visited several of the D&G offices. ‘My work is site-specific, so I always visit the space where my installations are to be housed,’ she explains. ‘I studied public art at Chelsea , so I’m interested in art within a context – the building, its locality and function, and the people using the space.’ Having visited the D&G offices, she went away to design a 2m x 15cm installation for the head office in Pimlico and two 1m x 25cm limited edition panels for the other 11 offices. The glass was then manufactured in a factory in Germany to a traditional method. ‘The glass used is stained glass, the same as that is found in churches,’ says Kate. ‘It’s blown onto sheets of steel, which creates a textured surface and because it’s mouth - blown, it contains bubbles. When light shines through it the glass really comes alive – and these two qualities means that it sparkles when light shines through it.’ It is this quality that attracted Kate to working with glass in the first place. ‘I’m fascinated by the light in coloured glass – the way it makes coloured pools of light, and the way it can change when light shines through it. It’s a hidden dimension that we can’t control.’ Once the glass was blown, it was mounted in an acrylic box, before being installed in the offices. ‘There’s no visible framework, and I love the idea of the colour “floating " ,’ says Kate. All of her work stands proud from the wall, so that light can gently diffuse through it from behind.

The outcome

The panels now have pride of place in the D&G offices, where they have been much admired by staff and visitors alike. ‘I am absolutely thrilled with the results,’ says Ivor. ‘Most estate agents’ offices just have their name in big brassy letters on their main wall, but as always we wanted to try and do something different at D&G. I didn’t want to write Douglas & Gordon on the wall, neither did I want an exact copy of our linear branding, which would have been very similar to just putting our name up. To have an artist as famous and as accomplished as Kate Maestri doing an artist’s representation of our branding in glass is a great honour.’ Kate Maestri is also available for private commissions. 2.11 Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London SE1 9PH. Call 020 7620 0330 for an appointment.