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Art student’s striking wall mural unveiled at Canary Wharf offices

New City College Art student João Destro’s vibrant and colourful wall mural is taking pride of place in the Canary Wharf offices of global law firm Clifford Chance after he was commissioned by a panel of judges.

New City College Art student João Destro’s vibrant and colourful wall mural is taking pride of place in the Canary Wharf offices of global law firm Clifford Chance after he was commissioned by a panel of judges.

João, who studies Art & Design at the Tower Hamlets campus, was picked as the winner from a group of 10 students who submitted proposals and concepts for a large mural to bring the office’s fifth floor to life.

The bright, innovative design was unveiled at a launch reception held in the Clifford Chance offices on Wednesday 15 June, attended by VIPs including Michael Bates, Clifford Chance UK Managing Partner and Gerry McDonald, New City College Group Principal and CEO.

The striking artwork was commissioned by Nigel Frank, the curator of the international law firm’s collection of artworks, who said he was thoroughly pleased with the piece.

He told João at the launch and private viewing: “It is an absolutely stunning piece. You have created the most amazing artwork that I still cannot believe you realised in such a short time.”

The mural unveiling coincided with João’s birthday and he was presented with a beautiful cake to celebrate with guests at the launch.                                       

Michael Bates, Clifford Chance UK Managing Partner, welcomed everyone to the event, saying: “This wonderful installation has already been gathering great reviews. It has been a real draw in our fifth-floor canteen and we are so delighted with the final piece.

“Art has always played an influential role at Clifford Chance. Every meeting room, office and corridor is filled with artwork, providing moments of calm, focus and respite in what can be a highly-pressured environment.

“I was taken aback that João’s design was painted in just one weekend. The vibrancy, the energy and impact of colour has proved a huge hit with all our visitors.”

Artist João, who finishes his Art & Design course at New City College this summer, is going on to study Fine Art at Middlesex University in September.

He said: “My primary inspiration for this mural were the sculptures from around Canary Wharf. I was inspired by some of the mushroom-looking pieces that fascinated me and I knew I wanted the colours to have a real impact.

“The final colour palette wasn’t in my initial design, but I adapted them and thought it was fitting for Pride month.

“I have called the piece “genealogica” which is a Portuguese word, and loosely translated refers to the lines of decent in a family. This piece has a very personal influence regarding my family and loved ones.”

To get the mural completed in time, João enlisted the help of a team of students and staff. “My friends and teachers were great – the painting was a team effort. I delegated roles and tasked people with different elements of the piece. I think we completed it in just under 10 hours!”

The mural will be in place for a year at The Clifford Chance Building, Canary Wharf.

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