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Art has the power to move us, to inspire us. In the workplace, that statement holds true, too. This year, we commissioned a unique, larger-than-life art installation in one of our three Chicago buildings: 71 South Wacker. The piece, which consists of two separate paintings, is featured in the building’s back lobby and serves to boost customers’ creativity, collaboration, mood and overall wellness. 

“We wanted a piece that spoke to the new design of the space,” says Emily Kream, Director, Construction at Irvine Company. Working with art consultants at Kevin Barry Fine Art to discover local talent, we chose Katie Meuser, a Chicago artist who creates vibrant and emotive abstract works using watered-down acrylics. “What attracted us to Meuser’s work was her organic style, which feels playful but also elegant,” says Kream. 

Kream goes on to share: “This art is such a prominent part of the space, and we knew that having a custom piece that was created for this specific place by a local creator would add depth and interest. It was also important to us to support a local artist.”

Once commissioned, Meuser painted the custom diptych in her Chicago studio. For installation, the two paintings were digitally scanned, piece by piece, and printed onto two wall coverings that are 26 feet long by 10 feet wide. 

These two vinyl prints were then applied onsite directly to the wall at 71 South Wacker. For two weeks following the vinyl’s installation, customers coming to and from The Exchange were able to watch as Meuser donned coveralls and traversed a forklift to add hand embellishments to the installed art. Experiencing the installation process and witnessing the hand embellishments allowed customers to be included in something that normally goes on behind the scenes.

Kream says, “This artwork adds another layer of visual interest and transforms the space into a gallery of sorts, where someone may want to linger and enjoy the art, rather than just pass through on their way to The Exchange. We believe art is a huge value, as it provides an enriching experience to supplement your otherwise mundane trip to grab lunch or head to the gym. It encourages customers and visitors to take a moment out of their day to pause and enjoy.”

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