WPP’s campus in Brussels brings together all of their sub-brands - previously spread throughout the Belgian capital - under one roof.
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, WPP’s move into Victoria Tower - an iconic space previously occupied by IBM and the city’s police force - and their adoption of a New Way of Working strategy, offers staff new levels of independence, flexibility, and creative freedom. The new offices needed to provide an exciting, inspiring environment to reflect and realise this new strategic approach.
Our work across various floors of the iconic building spanned wayfinding schemes, large-scale murals and bespoke artworks, designed by our in-house team and local Brussels-based artists. The work ties each ‘OpCo’ - the companies and brands that make up WPP - to each other and the city of Brussels, and articulates WPP’s key value of ‘Extraordinary Everyday’. This short, powerful line formed the basis for our strategic approach to the project.
Inspired by Brussels
Victoria Tower, as well as various cultural gems of Brussels, such as the Musée Magritte Museum, the grand botanical gardens and the street art found on walls across the capital, inspired our creative response to the brief.
Let There Be Light
We created a large 3D light sculpture that weaves its way across the ceiling of the ground floor lobby, which creates an instant moment of impact as soon as anyone steps through the door. Interactive ‘pixel walls’ on each floor of the building can be altered by anyone to spell out words and phrases, and are personalised to the brand colours of each of the WPP brands, seamlessly tying each OpCo together within the space.
Artistic Paths Through the Building
Wayfinding and signage played a key role in the experience and journey of each floor; our in-house team created a large totem in the lobby with directions to each WPP brand in the building which can be moved and interacted with, and a bank of wayfinding pictograms, both inspired by the facade of the tower. In response to the subtheme of ‘impossible shapes’, we designed a set of floor numbers, as well as colourful graphics to wrap staff lockers that felt unique to each OpCo.
Local artists, particularly those from underrepresented groups, were sought out to be involved in the project.
It was essential that each OpCo was involved in the curatorial selection process, which added an extra level of locality, personalisation and value, and they were given final say on which artists would be featured. From a shortlist of 12 artists, 4 were selected. One of the artists featured through our curation, Yannick Koneman, explores black identity and culture through bold pieces that use minimal colour, and draw inspiration from life drawing and his previous work with Raf Simons.
Koneman’s work places focus on people - they are beautifully simple, but full of life and personality. Another featured artists,Perrine Honoré, a french illustrator and muralist, created a selection of colourful pieces that add a playfulness to the space. Honoré’s standout work, a four-and-a-half metre wide framed mural, pays homage to the city and the people of Brussels and epitomises the culture of WPP.
We also facilitated an open call which encouraged local artists to submit ideas for a large mural that would greet staff and visitors as they enter the building. WPP employee, Valerie Henrard, was selected to produce a colourful, typographic mural across the back wall on the ground floor. It was key that the artwork visually articulated the WPP brand, and offered a moment of shareability and impact - Valerie’s intimate knowledge of WPP and the local area, made her the perfect candidate.
Earlier this year, we sat down with Eva Lynen, a Brussels-based illustrator and visual artist, to discuss her inspirations, future plans, and her works commissioned by Acrylicize for WPP's office at Victoria Tower in Brussels.