H+K: Doors of opportunities

H+K: Doors of opportunities from James Maiki on Vimeo.

On International Women’s Day in March of this year, we gave everyone in the agency an opportunity – an opportunity to shape how we would celebrate.
One of our most banal problems at H+K London is not being able to remember where our meeting rooms are, all of which are named after world-renowned authors. Out of that came an opportunity to create.

Speaking directly to our creativity and equality agendas, Ben Sharma and Abi Woolston suggested we commission 12 diverse emerging female artists from around the UK to create original artwork that bring the stories of the authors on our meeting room doors to life. These paid commissions support emerging artists from the UK and brings to life our commitment to equality, creativity and opportunity in a meaningful, original way with an idea born entirely here in London.

To ensure our artists were diverse in media and mindset, we cast a net far and wide. We wanted to support emerging women, and we wanted to make sure they were paid and that we could promote them – giving them the opportunity to have the rights to their work and creating a platform for them. We went to art colleges, platforms, creative partners, galleries – we used public channels as much as possible to make sure the net was vast. In total, we received 150 applicants, far exceeding our 70-person target. These were shortlisted to 30 by our EquALL team, who create a stronger and louder culture of equality and diversity in the agency, and then to the final 12, with everyone from our CFO to senior strategists having a say.

We kept Doors a secret from everyone in the office and planned an unveiling celebration to kickstart our 50th anniversary year. The doors were installed over the weekend, which created buzz and excitement the following Monday morning as H+Kers noticed the creative change in the office space turned art gallery. This week we open new doors, literally, and we open our doors to the next 50 years, to showcase the art, our work, our stories and our clients. Please do drop by the office to come and see the art for yourselves – everyone is welcome.

12 doors. 12 authors as inspiration. 12 artists open to opportunity. 12 beautiful artworks that make for inspirational meeting spaces, and interesting conversations.


Laxmi Hussain | Bronte sisters, blue inks on paper
Nell Smith | Cervantes, linocut print
Harriet Noble | Agatha Christie, digital illustration
Jennifer Dionisio | Charles Dickens, pencil and digital
Kat Zawadzski | George Eliot, digital Illustration
Karimah Hassan | Ernest Hemmingway, acrylic on canvas
Tribambuka | Doris Lessing, mixed media
Kimberley Bevan | Thomas Malory, pastel on paper
Pie Herring | George Orwell, oil and wax on canvas
Xi Wang | Virginia Woolf, watercolour on paper

© James Maiki