bottling brand values
Coca-Cola’s new location, once home to the Royal Society of Medicine in London’s West End, houses 300 staff behind its Edwardian facade. A staircase runs through the core of the four-storey building and links to a completely refurbished 1980’s rear extension via a staircase linking a roof terrace, café, meeting rooms, open plan office space and hot desk facilities. Architecturally, it unites the floors, and by analogy, the staff. Alongside the stairs there is a custom-built, double-sided display wall – a bespoke, intelligent, light installation composed of 5000 LED-illuminated recycled Coca-Cola bottles. Each bottle acts as a pixel in one of three screens installed over three floors, providing a spectacular backdrop of the 125-year-old brand’s place in popular culture.
“We wanted to create a unique, one-off, art driven lighting installation that would celebrate the iconic contour bottle shape, and also tie the three floors together,” says James Burke, creative director of art and design studio Acrylicize. “The aim was to design something that was dynamic, changeable, ever-evolving and engaging. Putting light in each bottle references the magic of the drink itself.”
Among the other artworks throughout the building is a four-metre tall comet-like chandelier designed by Stuart Heygarth, comprising 80,000 acrylic ice chunks. Also lit by LEDs, it hangs on ultrathin wires in the reception area epitomising the effect of an ice-cold Coke on a hot, dry day. Elsewhere, amid reclaimed wood, bare brick and exposed concrete, the red of Coca-Cola’s visual branding and examples of marketing paraphernalia from fridges to neon is much in evidence. But brands run deeper than packaging, image or logos.