We had always admired and wanted to work with the American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007). Our chance to realise this came when British Airways built their own dedicated Terminal at JFK and we were invited to purchase and curate their new USA art collection. We were able to commission LeWitt to create two major wall drawings for their showcase Concorde Lounges. Terence Conran was the architect appointed to design the interior spaces and so we were asked to collaborate with him and his team. The choice of LeWitt was universally loved and approved, but when the artist produced a ‘white on white’ solution to Conran’s curved floating wall – it went down like a ton of bricks - it was like two creative Titans facing one another with Artwise in the middle! LeWitt was incredibly generous with his alternative solution and created a new proposal for the ‘curved’ wall with an orange and blue wall drawing reminiscent of his ‘curvy line’ works. The other wall was a flat wall at the end of the main corridor entrance which had been lined with dark wooden panelling – not an easy space to create a wall drawing for. However, when LeWitt’s team had completed the commission, not only was the minimalist wall drawing beautifully conceived but there was an added in situ bonus of the colours reflecting along the whole length of the corridor. This special art commission is also documented in Sir Terence Conran’s book ‘My Life in Design’ page 127.
From 1996-2012 Artwise built and managed the British Airways Art Collection (ultimately amassing over 2000 works of art), curated the lounges globally and commissioned over 50 artists to do site-specific bespoke work. In addition to Sol LeWitt’s commission for JFK, other notable commissions include: an audio walk by Janet Cardiff and award-winning sculptures by Frank Tjepkema on behalf of Droog, Andy Goldsworthy and Troika.