The Meaning Behind The Binocular Wall

 

At the corner of Old Pineville and Yancey Roads in Charlotte, North Carolina, you’ll find CBI Workplace Solutions’ headquarters and flagship building, the place where CBI and the Live Love Serve Foundation have been doing business in and serving the local community for more than 25 years. If you are a regular to this area, you’ve probably noticed the evolution of the building’s design and expansion, as it has gone through a few necessary renovations to accommodate the business’s growth. Last year, the building gained quite a bit more character as a long standing vision came to life for Founder and CEO, David Longo. 

“We commissioned a unique mural for the side of our building to demonstrate the mission and values that are at the core of our business and our hearts – We Exist to Love and Serve,” says David. 

The Binocular Wall, as it is so fondly referred to by CBI’s associates and those who are familiar with the painting, represents viewing others through a lens of love, dignity and respect. 

“We wanted our mural to be a message to the Charlotte community. While the wall is a beautiful representation of color and art, it also tells a story about how we should treat others on a daily basis,” says David. “Only by seeing the world through the perspective of another can we gain compassion and empathy for our fellow man.” 

Thank you (CBI) for your leadership in the community. I drove around town with my kids yesterday to just get out, and your beautiful building was our first stop."   -- Lisa Farley, Charlotte, N.C.

The mural is filled with many artistic symbols that tell the story of CBI and the Live Love Serve Foundation: 

  • Faces of all ethnicities reflect the diversity of our city and world. Each figure is painted in grayscale to convey our skin is ultimately superficial.
  • Bold and exuberant colors are used in the background and contrast with the monotone figures looking through the binocular lenses. This symbolizes that by looking at others through a lens of love, dignity and respect you can see the world and all of God’s creation as it is -- bold, beautiful, and not belonging to only one person or group of people.
  • The binoculars are three dimensional and house a one way mirror to give a different perspective whether you are walking or driving by.
  • The bible verse 1 Corinthians 10:31 is displayed on the wall. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
  • The bible verse Psalm 82:2-4 is displayed on the wall. “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
  • An origami dove sits in the center of the mural to remind man that peace and harmony is most important. 
  • As the mural wraps to the side of the building it incorporates the words "We Exist to Love & Serve" challenging all to love and serve.

This mural was the contribution of many to the Charlotte community. The team behind the mural consisted of: long-time architecture partner Gensler, who developed an initial art concept; Local Impact Consultant Jenny Vallimont, who helped seek submissions for a partnership with local artists; and Osiris Rain the artist himself who brought this vision to life with his styles, creativity, perspective and team. 

Next time you drive down Old Pineville, and catch a glimpse of our mural, think about its symbolism, meaning, and the impact of loving and serving others.

 

Collaborating With the Brooklyn Collective to Honor a Lost Community

More than 50 years ago, at the intersection of Brevard St. and East 3rd in Uptown Charlotte, sat the heart of a community that bustled with homes, businesses and places of worship. Brooklyn, was settled in 1892 when recently emancipated slaves were drawn to the area and began to make it their home and place of work. The community continued to grow in the early 1900’s and became a vibrant African American neighborhood that attracted many of Charlotte’s most dignified black professionals. This community was also home to Charlotte’s only black high school, YMCA and library.

Grace AME Zion Church was a cornerstone of this community, and still stands proudly today on South Brevard Street in Second Ward. It is one of the few remaining structures still standing since Brooklyn was redeveloped in the 1960’s and much of the previous community was lost. 

This year, the Live Love Serve Foundation was introduced to John and Jason Wolf through one of our oldest clients. John and Jason are brothers who have made it their mission to restore some of the historic buildings that were previously part of the Brooklyn community. Jason founded the Brooklyn Collective which is a group of developers who purchased the Grace AME Zion Church and the other buildings around it in an effort to preserve them and return this block to a thriving city center where Charlotte residents can embrace history, culture and camaraderie. 

In partnership with CBI Workplace Solutions, the Live Love Serve Foundation committed to supporting the Brooklyn Collective by funding the design of their Second Ward office and donating furniture solutions that would help them be successful in their work and in their mission. 

David Longo, Founder & CEO of CBI Workplace Solutions says, “At CBI we believe in leveraging the built environment for the greater good. We completely support the mission of the Brooklyn Collective, and feel very strongly about preserving the history of Charlotte, as it is the city where we built our own business. When we met John and Jason, we wanted to provide support in any way we could, and we were happy to be able to fund the furniture and installation process to ensure their offices represented the important work they were doing.”

CBI and the Live Love Serve Foundation repurposed furniture from one of their corporate clients and helped financially support the relocation to the Brooklyn Collective offices. CBI's project management team measured the space and worked with Jason to select furniture that would support the Collective’s business functions and fit the landscape of the historic building. There were some challenges, as the old building has smaller rooms and narrower doorways, however, we were able to form a strategic installation plan and ensure maximum functionality of the solutions we provided.

 Jason Wolf, founder of the Brooklyn Collective says, “I am extremely grateful to CBI and the Live Love Serve Foundation for contributing the delivery and installation of our workplace solutions. This was an impactful contribution in the activation of the Brooklyn Collective’s upward mobility and inclusivity efforts in Charlotte. If it weren’t for you, we would not have been able to upgrade our 13 offices in the historic Mecklenburg Investment Company (“MIC”).”

CBI Workplace Solutions and the Live Love Serve Foundation look forward to continuing to support the Brooklyn Collective’s mission and see all the great work they achieve this year. To learn more about them and the historic buildings of Brooklyn visit www.makeitcharlotte.com

Inspiring a Community by Taking Action

With all that is going in the world at this time, I would like to share the story of two inspirational leaders who are making a significant positive impact on their community. I first want to note that protests coupled with open, honest and passionate dialogue are always healthy and necessary ways to drive change, however, to really make a difference we must eventually transition from conversation to action. A dear friend of mine always says “hope is not a strategy, and expounding on that strategy is useless without action.”  This is why I want to take a moment to share with you a story of how a good idea put into action has had an amazing impact on young lives. 

This is the inspirational story of John & Tammy Martin the Co-Founders of the Young Black Leadership Alliance (YBLA) in Charlotte, NC. John and Tammy followed God’s calling and created the YBLA, an amazing organization that focuses on developing young black leaders to impact and inspire underserved and at-risk students in their families, schools and communities. Students that join the YBLA receive focused attention, mentoring and education that sets them up to be role models to their peers and achieve successful outcomes in adulthood. CBI and the Live Love Serve Foundation became supporters of the YBLA after meeting John a few years ago. Today, the YBLA has joined CBI on our corporate campus as they operate their organization out of offices on the CBI grounds and use the facilities to host many of their outstanding events.

This weekend, my wife Chris and I had the opportunity to attend Scholar’s Day, which is a graduation awards event that the YBLA hosts for their graduating seniors. At this event,  John, Tammy and the rest of the YBLA staff celebrate each of these teens and their accomplishments. The seniors are given an opportunity to speak, and one after another each individual inspired us to the point that we have no doubt that all of these teenagers will go on to achieve greatness.

The impact this organization has on the lives of these young black men and women is nothing short of amazing. The magic of the YBLA is that these students learn to exemplify all that is good in mankind. Their confidence, passion, energy, enthusiasm, poise and pride is contagious. Attending this event was a highlight of our year. 

If you are looking for some way you can play a role in impacting the future you have to look no further than YBLA. I urge you to visit their website and their facebook page and I urge you to place your financial support behind them. It is organizations like these that are making a true difference in our community, and it’s time that we stop talking and take action to support them. Let your actions speak louder than your words.