McDonald’s criticised over graffiti-covered lampshades at Brixton restaurant
4 March 2016
McDonald's has been criticised for hanging graffiti-covered lampshades in a newly decorated restaurant.
The world’s biggest burger chain has installed lampshades emblazoned with graffiti tags at a branch in Brixton, south London, and the redesign has been described as “offensive” and “misguided”.
It is thought that more than 50 McDonald’s restaurants across the UK are displaying the design in some capacity, but it is the Brixton branch’s light coverings which seem to have upset people.
Lee Dema, who founded the St Matthew’s Project, an organisation that works with disadvantaged young people in Brixton, said he thinks the decor is “a little bit misguided”.
He said he would not lose any sleep over it, but added: “I just thought they thought ‘Brixton, yeah, what’s Brixton like? Graffiti, yeah we’ll do that’.”
Mr Dema, who raised concerns about the gentrification of Brixton and referred to “£8 sandwiches”, said: “I just think it’s a little bit misguided that’s all. Their idea that Brixton is, I don’t know, an area covered in graffiti, that’s what it would suggest. I mean, would you graffiti your own lampshades? I don’t know.”
Mr Dema joked that McDonald’s should have opened a branch in Brixton Village and used “Laura Ashley lampshades”, adding: “Never mind the lampshades, just don’t eat the stuff. That’s more important to kids.”
Food writer Jay Rayner wrote on Twitter: “So the refurbed Brixton @McDonaldsUK has fake graffiti tagging. The real thing blights Brixton. Truly offensive idea.”
McDonald’s said there was similar coverage about its Redhill store last October but the store has seen a 9% uplift in sales since the redesign was introduced.
A McDonald’s spokeswoman said: “Our Brixton restaurant reopened this week following extensive work to refurbish and redesign the store.
“We are sorry to hear a small number of people are unhappy with the new lampshades. These designs are in use across the UK and in other markets and have received a great reception.
“With self-order kiosks and free-to-use tablets, the refreshed Brixton store has digital innovation at its heart and provides customers with more choice in how they order and pay. We look forward to hearing what local residents think of their new McDonald’s.”
Graffiti is considered by many to be an important art form, and graffiti artist Darren Cullen, who founded the Graffiti Kings – a group of graffiti artists for hire – said the problem with the McDonald’s graffiti is that it is not authentic.
“They should have at least, because they can, because they’re big, they could have at least consulted with a traditional graffiti artist and make it a bit more authentic,” he said.
Mr Cullen said brands come to his company because they want an “authentic, street look”, and he said people can tell “what is real and what isn’t”.
The artist said he sees it as a “pat on the back” that McDonald’s chose to use a graffiti design in their latest decor as it gives the art form recognition, but he said they should have tried to make it look authentic.
The Graffiti Kings are hired for interior design on commercial and private walls, and for advertising campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands.
Photo © Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0). Cropped.