Aberdeen office building gets street art treatment

Union Plaza, Aberdeen. Photo: Ernest Zacharevic.

One of Aberdeen’s most prominent Grade A office buildings has been given a street art makeover by a world renowned artist as part of this year’s NuArt Festival. The building is owned by LGIM Real Assets (Legal & General).

Union Plaza, which is home to corporate occupiers including Burness Paull and Aberdeen Standard Investments, was selected as a key site in this year’s festival which originated in Norway in 2003.

The installation at the city centre office building has been created by Lithuanian-born Ernest Zacharevic, best known for carving a giant SOS message into an Indonesian palm oil plantation to draw attention to the damage done by deforestation earlier this year.

Taking over the entire east side of Union Plaza, the installation spans over the 120,000 sq ft building’s seven open plan floors and features a young boy climbing brickwork, overseen from above by seagulls.

The theme for this year’s festival revolves around the concept “A Revolution of the Ordinary” investigating the parallel world of non-institutional art and culture through a program of talks and debates, film screenings, walking tours and workshops.

NuArt was started in 2003 in Stavanger, Norway. Aberdeen fought off competition from cities around the world to host the first NuArt festival outside Norway last year. The 2018 festival was launched earlier this month, and showcases new work from 11 international street artists.

Managed by property consultants JLL, Union Plaza is also home to Deloitte, AGR, Exxon Mobil, and Barclays. Its owners, Legal & General, chose to engage Aberdeen’s corporate community with the festival in order to tap into the strong international spotlight the festival is likely to bring to the city.

Mark Russell, Senior Fund Manager at LGIM Real Assets, said: “It’s been fantastic to have the support and engagement of the building’s occupiers, particularly Aberdeen Standard Investments and Burness Paull who are headline sponsors of the festival. Ernest’s installation is incredibly striking and we hope visitors and occupiers engage with and discuss his piece. Aberdeen is a fantastic place to live and work, and it is with great pride that we welcome the NuArt festival to the city and our building, illustrating how culturally open and dynamic Aberdeen truly is.”

Bryony Spencer, Associate Director at JLL, who manage the building, said: “It’s been very exciting to work with NuArt Festival this year and see the artwork come to life at Union Plaza. We hope this shows off a different side to corporate Aberdeen, and encourages the public to engage with the artwork and see the city in a new light.”