Taking street art into mainstream

Architectural firm SVA International has taken street art indoors

In a move to inject creativity into the corporate workspace, architectural firm SVA International has taken street art indoors.
The striking 12m artwork, which runs the length of the Eastern Cape headquarters’ open-plan office in Central, was created by Port Elizabeth artist Steven “Joff” Carter, who is responsible for giving new life to abandoned structures around the city.
SVA International associate Ilse Danev said the work – created using spraypaint on wood – called to mind the colourful, heavy lettering of early graffiti styles typically seen on New York city streets.
Danev said that graffiti was often mistakenly associated with the “defacing” of innercity buildings.
“Graffiti is also a form of self-expression through design and, in many ways, offers a new face to old buildings, which is absolutely in line with our philosophy,” she said.
The Eastern Cape’s largest architectural firm has been steadily renovating its office space and building – including a new eye-catching entrance on Park Drive.
Carter said creating an artwork for a corporate workspace had been a challenge.
“There’s always something interesting about how people respond to and interact with art pieces,” he said.“Introducing it to a large group of people, each with their personal tastes, you hope to capture a feeling that allows everyone to be comfortable.”
He said people were beginning to respond much more positively to street art and to engage with it more than in previous years.
“It’s overwhelming the number of messages I receive when a street art piece is taken down,” he said.

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