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A trick of the eye.

I woke up at 5am this morning and was about to drop off again when I saw a huge spider suspended above me. It had cruel legs, a swollen abdomen fat with silk or eggs, and was hovering over my nose. Naturally, I woke up entirely. Once my heart had stopped racing, I saw… nothing. No trace of a spider, dangling or otherwise. It was my tired brain making sense of a shadow or a far-away doorknob. But just for a moment, I’d seen something that wasn’t there and believed 100% that it was real.

People make money doing this to buildings. It makes sense; you want to present something pretty to the world. If you’re a big company with a big job to do, you won’t be keen on the public associating towering scaffolding and exposed pipes with your brand.

Luckily, there are companies that can make sure your renovation remains looking clean and shiny from the street. And some that go even further.

Take a look at the Victoria Palace Theatre, for example. It’s in the process of being refurbished so that the current darling of theatreland, Hamilton, can start its West End run. They’ve managed to combine advertising and building work to create a one-of-a-kind building wrap.

But what if you’re looking for something a little different? Something that will make people stop and stare and take photos? Then you need to stop thinking of your building as a building, and start seeing it as a giant cube you can decorate.

 

But that’s not the most unusual frontage I’ve seen, nor the most creative. That honour would have to go to 39 de l’avenue George V, which looks like this:

It makes you stop, doesn’t it? Like my brain seeing a shadow as a fat, venomous spider, anyone catching a glimpse of that building wrap is going to think it’s something else. They’re going to have to let their brain jumble through explanations – why is that building melting in front of me? – and that will make them stop for a moment.

And getting people to stop and look at what you’re doing is half the battle.

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