Stella Artois is harnessing the power of smart street art to help bars and pubs maintain social distancing for customers in a safe yet creative way.
The Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I-owned beer brand is installing a 28×14 metre artwork at the heart of the Old Truman Brewery in London, using a combination of geometric shapes and contrasting colours to help visitors safely social distance without the need for physical barriers.
Elements of the design are being shared with 1,000 pubs and bars across the UK to support their Covid-19 measures as they welcome back customers.
Developed by Stella Artois and creative agency Studio Number One, the work borrows techniques used in op art, urban planning, architecture and design to manage people’s movements and make keeping socially distant obvious and easy, without the use of off-putting physical barriers.
It features a combination of circles, flowing lines and bright, contrasting colours, set within a representation of a woman toasting with a beer, creating a design that is described as both functional and artistic, transforming an otherwise featureless space into a vibrant place to linger safely over a drink.
The initiative comes as changes to licensing laws mean many venues are looking to convert outdoor spaces into al fresco drinking areas.
The campaign hopes not only to make such places safer, but also ensure customers actually feel safe, while minimising measures that some may feel unwelcoming.
Ali Humphrey, marketing director, Stella Artois Europe, said: “Social distancing doesn’t need to be anti-social for it to be safe. We’re using art to bring people together, safely, rather than using barriers to keep them apart.
“Despite the mounting anticipation for that first post-lockdown beer with a friend, people are still risk-conscious.
“Would-be pub-goers need reassurance that pubs will be safe spaces, but they also don’t want to lose the social atmosphere that makes them so special, which means trying to make spatial guidelines something drinkers can take pleasure from, rather than feel restricted by.”
Shepard Fairey, creative director and co-founder of Studio Number One, added: “With galleries and exhibitions closing their doors during lockdown, people have been unable to experience and appreciate art in the usual ways.
“My team collaborated with Stella Artois to create socially-distanced art to be publicly accessible, but also to facilitate safety as people reunite. I have a history at the Truman Brewery, so I’m excited that this debuts there.”