[dropcap size=big]R[/dropcap]ather than using its billions to buy pieces from established artists, Facebook recently commissioned local artists like TR853-1, Adeline Tan and Justin Lee CK to paint murals at its new Asia-Pacific headquarters at South Beach Tower.

It is a multi-pronged approach, says British art consultant and art historian Anna Layard. The 41-year-old, who moved to Singapore seven years ago, tells The Peak: “Other than being displayed for purely aesthetics reasons, art is such a powerful messenger – it can reinforce mission statements, motivate employees, enhance productivity and increase creativity. Nothing is accidental. Commissioning emerging artists buttresses Facebook’s image as a cutting-edge company.” Business associates walking through the hallways are influenced by the positive energy as well, she adds.

Setting a clear objective is paramount, says Layard, who has consulted for clients such as Australian property group Lend Lease and Australian art advisory firm Nanda\Hobbs Contemporary. Should a corporate collection reflect brand values? How does a company want to be perceived – calm and peaceful or dynamic and energetic? Does it want a global collection to represent the international reach of its business, or does it want to support the local community to show that it is as nurturing as it is innovative?

While having old masters evokes “power, success, wealth and heritage”, Layard advises against displaying nudes in the workplace as they can be offensive. On the other hand, abstract art – her favourite style – is subject to different interpretation and thus, less contentious.

Consider spaces too, and choose mediums wisely. “Sculptures may not be practical in public spaces as they are more susceptible to damage. You also wouldn’t expose artwork to direct light or UV sources.”