Titled "Real Life at Work" and rendered in '60s pop art lines, Wieden + Kennedy’s London storefront space looks two-dimensional until a 3-D human comes along and sits at the desk, effecting a surreal optical illusion.

It turns the daily office grind into a type of performance art.

The pop-up space is part of the ad agency’s Hello Neighbour initiative, launched in 2012, in which they commission creative people working within a one-mile radius to create a unique display for their storefront window each month.

Graphic artist Emily Forgot and installation artist Laurie D are the neighbours responsible for this wry transformation, which includes a clock that moves backwards, a chunky typewriter, crumpled wads of paper on the floor, and an incessantly ringing phone.

“Real Life Creative Team at Work.” Their activity is also broadcast via webcam on the installation’s website.

If you catch live workers on the video stream, watching them toil at this parody of an office desk from your own office desk can be a bit existential angst-inducing.

Placing people in the animated space creates a sort of inverted Space Jam effect. It’s also a bit reminiscent of Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams, in which characters walk through landscapes that replicate famous paintings.

“Real Life at Work” is on display at 16 Hanbury Street in London until August 31.

Co.Design

Wieden + Kennedy Displays Workers In A Pop Art Cage

In a wry pop-up installation at Wieden + Kennedy London, real people go about real work within an optical illusion.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in a cartoon? The London office of advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy commissioned graphic artist Emily Forgot and installation artist Laurie D to transform their storefront into a black-and-white cardboard office inspired by Roy Lichtenstein’s paintings. Titled "Real Life at Work" and rendered in '60s pop art lines, the monochromatic space looks two-dimensional until a 3-D human comes along and sits at the desk, effecting a surreal optical illusion.

The wry installation is complete with a clock that moves backwards, a chunky typewriter, crumpled wads of paper on the floor, and an incessantly ringing phone. And it turns the daily office grind into a type of performance art. Though month’s end, passersby can watch people, stationed in the space, going about their business behind the glass labeled: “Real Life Creative Team at Work.” Their activity is also broadcast via webcam on the installation’s website. (Sometimes the video stream just features an empty chair, but if you catch a live worker, watching her toil at this parody of an office desk from your own office desk can be a bit existential angst-inducing.)

Placing real humans in this animated space creates a sort of inverted Space Jam effect. It’s also a bit reminiscent of Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams, in which characters walk through landscapes that replicate famous paintings.

The pop-up space is part of Wieden + Kennedy’s Hello Neighbour initiative, launched in 2012, in which they commission creative people working within a one-mile radius to create a unique display for their storefront window each month. Past installations have included a massive quilted Union Jack, with each of the 15 squares designed by a different artist, and a spookily projected Halloween ghost.

“Real Life at Work” is on display at 16 Hanbury Street in London until August 31.

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1 Comments

  • Anthony Reardon

    Wow! This is actually hot!

    I generally focus on integrated social media experiences to include the in-person experience, and this inspires my thinking.

    I think storefront design of experience integrated to be consistent with web media has phenomenal potential.

    The example in this article is rather abstract and artistic, but you could take the same kinds of design elements for online experiences, incorporate those into the real-world experience, and vice versa. Terrific!!

    Best, Anthony