Adding Colour to the City

British artist Camille Walala reinvents the facade of a seven-storey historic building in Brooklyn’s Industry City creative hub

At 40 metres high, the project, commissioned by WantedDesign, is both Walala’s biggest New York commission and her tallest building to date.

Currently housing a number of design studios spanning various disciplines, the Sunset Park building is an important venue for NYCxDESIGN, with a different artist invited to create work in the space for the festival each year. The WantedDesign team decided that Walala was the perfect artist to transform the building’s neglected fascia into a vibrant and decorative statement.

Walala developed a striking, 3D-effect POP design that accentuates the architectural features of the building and incorporates a colour palette inspired by its setting.

Translating the design from an A4 sheet into a 40m fascia was a challenge, as small details can look very different when magnified many times. Walala and her team worked with decorative painters from Industry City-based landmark-building specialists EverGreene Architectural Arts to create the mural, using paint from French colour experts Ressource Peinture and with support by Spring Scaffolding and Value Construction. In total, the transformation of the exterior took around 12 days.

“I’m thrilled to be producing a design for a 40m building – my tallest so far. The design has been inspired by the architecture of the building, particularly the repetition of the windows. The site is bathed in the most beautiful colours at sunset, which has inspired my palette for the project. I’m really excited about this design – I am producing something quite different…’”– Camille Walala.

Camille Walala is a graduate in textile design from the University of Brighton, and established her studio and brand in East London in 2009. Her work has evolved from textile-based focus to art direction, interior design and large-scale civic art and installation projects. Drawing on influences including the Memphis Movement, the Ndebele tribe and Victor Vasarely, Walala has an enthusiasm for playful, graphic patterns.

WantedDesign is a platform that promotes design and fosters the international creative community at large throughout the year. It was founded in New York City in 2011 by Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat.

Industry City is a six-million-square-foot mixed-use complex comprising 16 warehouse buildings spread over 35 waterfront acres of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Built at the turn of the 20th century as a warehousing and distribution centre, the somewhat neglected property was transformed after a $250 million infrastructure investment. It is now home to more than 450 companies, including tech and media firms, fashion and furniture designers, and a wide range of artists.

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