Inspired by a commitment to creativity, our staff decided earlier this year that the façade of the ICA’s temporary headquarters at 818 West Broad Street should undergo a bold, vivid makeover. Based on the ICA’s brand identity, a once stark white brick storefront now features a bright color palette of red, pink, and purple. Using a 3M brick adhesive vinyl, the front exterior was wrapped from top to bottom with matching laminate for doors and windows. Mounted high above, the ICA’s logo is presented in custom-fabricated white channel letters. Deceptively simple during the day, the logo is illuminated in the evenings for an equally powerful effect.

Initiated in the fall of 2014, the project was a collaboration between the ICA, the School of the Arts Department of Interior Design (IDES), and the student group mOb (Middle of Broad). mOb, a collaborative design studio located on Broad Street, provides VCU interior, graphic, and fashion design students work on local design projects. Tasked with raising awareness for the ICA, the students were challenged to activate a pedestrian-scale project on Broad Street. Treating the façade was one of several ideas proposed, from interior design treatments to a special publication and a flash mob on campus. At the end of the term, the group celebrated several accomplishments, but not a façade treatment. Over the next few months, IDES Assistant Professor and mOb faculty mentor Roberto Ventura — with assistance from Katie Fischer (BFA ’15) — took ownership of the project, nurtured the design to completion, and engaged potential vendors.

In thinking about the design, Ventura recognized that the ICA’s storefront didn’t follow the scale or rhythm of the other buildings in the vicinity and that it was dwarfed by its neighbor, the recently restored Depot building. He also factored in the ICA’s recent use of the windows for displaying artwork and kept one window uncovered to serve as a vitrine for future presentations.

The final design created a celebratory and energetic presence and a new viewpoint for the ICA. Furthermore, the design reflects a uniquely Richmond aesthetic, one that is confident and unapologetically bold. Since the façade was wrapped, both awareness and engagement have increased — visitors now pop into the office to ask for literature and pick up ICA swag, students take selfies in front of the building, and 818 even became a stop in a scavenger hunt during the summer.

The ICA is grateful to these students and colleagues for their contribution to this project:

VCUarts Faculty
Kristin Caskey, Associate Professor, Fashion Design + mOb
John Malinoski, Associate Professor, Graphic Design + mOb
Roberto Ventura, Assistant Professor, Interior Design
Sandy Wheeler, Associate Professor, Graphic Design
Camden Whitehead, Associate Professor, Interior Design + mOb

Sarah Clampett (BFA ’14), Graphic Design
Katie Fischer (BFA ’15), Interior Design
Michael Hackett (BFA ’15), Interior Design
Lauren Holmes (BFA ’15), Interior Design
Bethany Johnson (BFA ’14), Graphic Design
Kaitlin Kobs (BFA ’15), Graphic Design
Miriam Weirich (BFA ’15), Interior Design

Professional Mentors
John Bonano, Designer
Matt Robins, Architect
1. Before and after views of the ICA’s headquarters, Spring 2016 ©ICA at VCU
2. View of the ICA’s headquarters at dusk, Fall 2016 ©ICA at VCU
3. Students taking a selfie in front of the façade, Summer 2016