The working relationship between British Airways and Artwise has been inspiring and long standing. Back in 1996 BA recognised the potential that art could play in its re-branding: increasing brand awareness and creating a new contemporary (and British) image for the company. Our aim for BA was to establish a series of long-term strategies and a programme of diverse artist-led initiatives incorporating the company’s goals that would include both customers and staff. It needed to reflect the world-class status of the company and to demonstrate its innovation and leadership within the industry, through its Art. Over the twelve-year period Artwise developed an impressive Art Collection for BA that includes over 1500 works and over 60 special commissions some of which have been the recipient of esteemed industry awards.
We worked to further extend the boundaries of the British Airways Art Collection with museum-quality artworks to inspire and engage both staff and passengers by establishing newly commissioned artworks as a key element of the British Airways Art Collection. In British Airways Lounges and staff buildings from New York to Berlin we have commissioned and project-managed site-specific works by artists including Sol LeWitt, Rikki Albenda, Mark Titchner, Simon Periton, Lolly Batty and Richard Smith, as well as regional craftworks such as Zulu baskets for the Johannesburg Lounge. In 1998, we commissioned major works by Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash, Janet Cardiff and Lothar Götz for Waterside, British Airways Headquarters’ award-winning building designed by Niels Torp and surrounded by 200 acres of parkland. In 2004 two design projects were commissioned for the Executive Lounges at Terminal One International, London Heathrow. The first of these, Airco Tree, was designed by Frank Tjepkema for Dutch design collective Droog and won the overall prize in the 2005 Dutch Design Awards. Tord Boontje, runner-up in the 2003 British Designer of the Year Award, designed a lightbox called Shadow play.