Ikon Shop25.11.2022

Ikon x Window Artists

Take a look at Ikon Shop’s newly commissioned window illustration by Window Artists for our winter exhibition, Horror in the Modernist Block.

Birmingham-based Window Artists take their inspiration from their love of the city’s brutalist architecture, as well as the natural world and how it intersects with the urban landscape. This often leads to a stylised combination of bold geometric shapes paired with intricate and delicate penmanship.

Edward Luke Thrush is an illustrator with over 11 years experience in commercial and large format design while Anna Davies is an interior architect with a background in the commercial sector. By bringing together their skill sets, they realised they could offer a whole range of design-based practices.

Where did your inspiration come from for the design?

In a lot of our work we tend to celebrate our city and its character, not through rose tinted glasses but with an appreciation of the grotty, the decaying and maltreated.  Our Brutalist buildings especially have had a special place in our hearts, built mostly with utilitarian goals for the common person and being considerate and reflective of their surroundings, in contrast to the overtly ornate Victorian buildings that drip with wealth and pomposity or the trashy contemporary structures that sparkle with capitalist pride.

In complimenting the theme of the exhibition we wanted to create an image that swallows you up, combining faintly familiar structures that exude menace and intrigue. The concrete structures we see in our city have such a monumental presence, totemic and arresting. The dramatic curves and edges are both heavy and light, considered detailing and design are often overlooked, a wide variety of surface finishes unappreciated. Whilst walking around the city exploring these buildings we were particularly taken by the interventions placed on these structures, whether it be anti-trespass furniture, suicide prevention gating, street art or out-of-sync adaptations to ‘modernise’ (ie the use of plastic cladding).

Could you tell us about a few of the buildings in the artwork?

With the exception of the now-demolished swerving staircase at Paradise Place and the tower to the market carpark, all these buildings still stand – though some are cited for demolition. We chose these centrally-based buildings because they are not easily discoverable and have an element of banishment – underneath bridges, inside subway tunnels, up derelict staircases or behind fenced off areas. The imagery all held together with the towering concrete sculptural forms that we find holding up the dual carriages that slice through our city.

It was quite fitting that in photographing textures of the REP in Centenary Square we were accosted by police and held until our names were cleared. In a city that has a vendetta against its own concrete legacy, to admire the brutal is almost a crime in itself – albeit this was during the Tory Party Conference so they may have been more concerned we were protesters.

What material do you use to create the window?

For semi-permanent pieces we use chalk/acrylic pens and paint for the design. This allows us to both draw fine detailed lines whilst also etching marks into block painted areas to give a variety of mark making textures.

How long did it take to create?

It took us both 3 1/2 days to complete – 24 hours of drawing.

Timelapse Video

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Limited Edition Print & Tote Bag

You can buy a limited edition A3 screen print and tote bag from Ikon Shop.


1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace
Birmingham, B1 2HS

GALLERY: +44 (0)121 248 0708
SHOP: +44 (0)121 248 0711

Ikon is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and Birmingham City Council.

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