Designer/adman Robert Brownjohn had been pumping up the design of Pepsi-Cola World, the monthly corporate magazine sent to bottlers, for a couple of years when he was commissioned to create a sculpture for the lobby of the company’s soon-to-open world headquarters at 500 Park Avenue.
The result was Pepsi-Cola Christmas Ribbon, described by Brownjohn’s official site as “a giant wave supported by pilotti” which was “elaborately constructed with thousands of multi-coloured Christmas baubles embedded in an armature of chicken wire.”
From the exterior views on Brownjohn’s site, the sculpture seems to have filled almost the entire 100-foot wide facade of Natalie de Blois’ building. The Pepsi-Cola Building is, along with Lever House, the Seagram Building, and the Manufacturers Trust Building (510 Fifth Ave.), one the greatest International Style building in New York. It is certainly the most quietly elegant.
The lobby, entirely open, was originally designed as an exhibition space, but no exhibition mentioned in the building’s history sounds remotely as successful as Robert Brownjohn’s chicken wire sculpture that went on view for a couple of months before the building even opened. And which I had never heard a peep about until this morning, when Peter Huestis posted it on BlueSky.