Responses by Headless Horse
Background: We were pleased to work with UK restaurant chain @pizza again to design the artwork of its newest location on the famous Royal Mile in Edinburgh. We had previously worked with @pizza to design the artwork of the Charlotte Lane, Edinburgh and Grand Central Station, Birmingham locations. The Royal Mile site was formerly a police station, with its building spread over three floors. Headless Horse was briefed with delivering artwork to cover nine elevations in total.
Challenges: At the first @pizza site at Charlotte Lane, we had the opportunity to install the mural directly. This meant that we physically teared up posters and imagery we had captured or sourced to make the mural. However, due to the unexpected events of 2020, social distancing meant that we were unable to gain access to the site to do a live install as we had done previously. Therefore, we opted to produce and print the artwork digitally, using photographs supplied by the site manager and renderings supplied by the interior design firm as our plan of the building.
Reasoning: To achieve the tonality and look of the walls similar to the first @pizza location, we decided to produce all of the elements for the artwork with the same process we had used before. This included scanning, grading and pasting, and then assembling the final pieces in Photoshop by isolating all of the graphics onto colored paper to make masking easier.
Two of the site’s elevations were designed to have the brand’s chevron pattern on the wall; we wanted to include these into the rest of the site’s artwork. For this, we experimented with a technique that was previously conceptualized and produced for our Instagram page. This included tearing the artwork and scanned elements from the other elevations and then recycling them into piles of black-and-white elements to create the chevron pattern for the remaining elevations.
Specific demands: The client was looking to incorporate some imagery and references to the building’s history as a police station, while remaining sensitive with the imagery around this area. We decided to use some of the walls to act as more abstract visual cues for the site’s history instead. The torn paper referenced shredded evidence and the portraits resembled mugshots. We also had a thin elevation that was a suitable position to create a mugshot height wall. This would be used as an interactive point for customers to capture photos of themselves at the @pizza location for social media.
Visual influences: As a studio, we primarily create black-and-white visuals, but we were also inspired by assemblage, found imagery, structures found in government paperwork, faxes, computer archives and typewriters. We want to create initial visual interest that relies on tonality yet contrasted with details that, when inspected, reveal messages and narratives.
Favorite details: We were able to include photography and imagery from the other @pizza restaurant sites that we had previously worked with. It meant that we could include some hidden Easter eggs of staff members, references to menu item names and location-specific messaging unique to the Edinburgh site. We always like to include some hidden imagery of the Headless Horse brand in our works, so we made sure to hide a reference in one of the elevations—we just won’t say which!