Grey takes design to the curb

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A recent philanthropic project from the ad world claims new canvas on traffic barriers, proving that nothing, not even the roadside, can escape design.

Grey Group Worldwide lent 320 employees and illustration know-how to paint a geometric, undulating pattern on an otherwise gray stretch of traffic barriers in New York City's Harlem. The project, part of the agency's annual volunteering day, contributed to the Department of Transportation's temporary art program that aims to spruce up public space and city infrastructure, reports the New York Times.

Grey illustrator Pedro Delgado designed the green and blue pattern for 1,900 feet of concrete barriers on the bicycle path along High Bridge Park, north of 155th Street, paralleling the Harlem River Drive. The long curving shapes locking and unlocking utilize earthy, organic colors to reflect the surroundings and emulate the visual flow of walking past the wall, Delgado says. The design also had to be easy enough for volunteers with a range of skill sets to execute.

The agency shut down on June 3, this year's Grey Give Back Day, and troops, including Grey CEO Jim Heekin and Grey NY president Steve Hardwick, painted the barriers—also known as jersey barriers because they were originally produced as highway dividers in the Garden State—gardened and painted rooms in a nearby senior center.

Grey partnered with City Year, a non profit youth program, who organized the day and volunteers.

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