The New Corporate Art

With the changing nature of work, driven by increased employer flexibility and mobility so too has the direction of workplace.

Working environments today are actively embracing human centric design and creating engaging and emotional experiences for employees.

Westpac have embraced a similar sentiment recently by engaging GroupGSA to reposition its contact centre in Concord West. Operating an environment 24/7 and with a resident population of approx. 1500 people Westpac wanted to ensure the refurbished working environment was conducive to supporting the wellbeing of its people.

Collaborative Success

Whilst the new workplace embraces end of trip facilities, a full cafeteria and on site barista, the project also embraced a new and unique direction toward corporate art.

Through Westpac’s ongoing Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program they proudly partner with Studio A – a supported studio based in Sydney Australia that tackles the barriers that artists living with intellectual disability face. Studio A contributes to various personal outcomes for the artists including increased self-esteem, increased aspirations for the future, broader social networks and a sense of belonging, increased financial security and improved mental health.

More broadly, within the community Studio A reduces stigma associated with people with disability and increases diversity and inclusion. Studio A offers the mainstream arts sector access to new artists and new opportunities for unique collaborations.

For this project we had the privilege of collaborating with the incredibly talented artist Emily Crockford pictured here.

The Brief

The GSA Graphics team met early with Studio A to discuss direction and concept for the artwork, intentionally complementing the neutral palette that the interiors team had implemented. A “natural & environmental” theme was conceived, and a large focus was for Emily to artistically interpret that in her own unique way with minimal interference.

The brief outlined the 200sqm mural to be the ‘hero’ piece, supported by a series of 10 hand painted patterns that would refresh the meeting and training rooms within the workspace totalling an impressive 100+ linear metres.

Creative Execution

Emily’s 10 individual patterns were digitised and reworked to create much larger scalable patterns that would easily fill the large glazing lengths required. This enabled the various themes to be seamlessly woven together, reinforcing a strong connection of the ‘micro and macro’ nature details whilst injecting much needed colour and energy into the expansive 16,000sqm workspace.

The creative energy behind the mural was driven by Emily, with GroupGSA briefing her to consider both the broad view and the detail so the mural could be seen as a landscape from a distance while also appreciated for its detail closer in.

Over a 6 day period Emily and support artist Meg Minkley brought an initial sketch to life in a live working environment. The 200sqm mural drew enormous interest and excitement from the staff as it was being painted, creating an engagement and connection that is quite rare and special.

While the mural’s spring, energy and fireworks themes include some red, the fit out focused on creating a comfortable, uplifting environment for staff unconstrained by the bank’s branding palette.

The main challenge for us was to bring light and life into the space. Call centres can at times be relatively high-pressured places, so we wanted to use art to help create an environment in which people can feel happy, connected and energised and a place to recompose and reset if the need arises.

Flowers and patterns, firework seedpods and nesting birds. I love Spring. This season inspires my artwork. Spring feels like pop pop pop, fireworks in the night time, snowflakes in the grass. I hope people feel like Spring when they see my artwork. Refreshed, tree skies and colours of the new season bursting out.

– Emily’s Artist Statement

Westpac Concord West was awarded Gold at the 2019 Sydney Design Awards for Graphic Design – Environmental category.
This award celebrates creativity and innovation in the intersection of communication design and the built environment.

GroupGSA Graphics team:
Ant Newman – Graphic Lead
Barbara Beckmann – Senior Graphic Designer
John Dobie – Graphic Designer

Studio A
Emily Crockford – Lead Artist
Gabrielle Mordy – Artisitic Director & CEO

A Drawing A Day
Meg Minkley – Muralist

Photography credits – Ant Newman, Barbara Beckmann, The Guthrie Project, Luc Remond

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