Where is the most unusual place you have worked?
In a recent DW piece, Steve Price argued that creatives should spend less time working at their desks. Where is the most unusual place you have worked?
‘David Law and I once created the new communications for a leading Russian brand. We were flown to Moscow for a meeting - which turned into a huge press conference at the National Physics Institute, where we had to address the nation on how we had re-invented a well loved brand for the next generation. It went down a storm. “Job done,” we thought - and got on the vodka. The next morning we were awoken early to find our clients had arranged for us to fly (with them) to neighbouring Georgia - where, with considerable hangovers, we ascended a mountain. On the way up we were met by another TV interview crew, and a man carrying a sword demanding money.
That’s not even the best bit… It went on…
After navigating a two-hour climb and reaching the peak to scream into the distance (it’s a tradition apparently), we were making our way down only to find that the client had arranged for a recital of Hamlet in mime to be performed in our honour. After the hour-and-a-half show in utter silence, halfway up a Georgian mountain, we were invited to a meeting while some members of the group threw empty vodka bottles in the air and shot at them with rifles.
At that meeting we were asked to work on the new advertising campaign for the brand. Under lightly falling glass, on a Georgian mountain, with a glass of vodka in my hand. That was the most unusual place I have ever worked.’
Simon Manchipp, co-founder, SomeOne
‘I’ve just returned from shooting a new Nokia campaign in New York. One of the scenes required us to capture a group of cyclists riding at dusk in Brooklyn. To get the right shot we ended up filming some of it from a tandem with me on the front. Trying to art direct, watch traffic and keep the bike steady so my colleague could film from the back was interesting and unusual, especially as I’d never ridden a tandem before. I went from cursing the thing to wanting to buy one.’
James Greenfield, creative director, Design Studio
‘Racing around the Nürburgring circuit at 140mph was a pretty strange place to be working. As I hammered round with my co-pilot whispering the last rites, we saw a marking on the track that someone had painted. It was a parking space which made us laugh and led me down the usual route of thinking about the potential of a book, this time on witty road markings. Or discovering German wit in the most unlikely of places.’
David Kimpton, creative director, Kimpton Creative
‘I don’t think the desk is the problem. I think how you manage your time so that you can be an effective creative. It is possible to have lots of ideas, support your wife, play with your kids, speak to your best friends regularly, get work done and delivered on time, get exercise to maintain happiness. The trick is to combine as many of these to save time and give you more thinking space. To do this you need;
1. A notebook for each project to help you manage all your ideas and make sure they happen.
2. An exercise that doubles up as fun time with your kids or friends (ie swimming/cycling), to save time.
3. Working with like-minded clients helps to not waste time.
4. Using train journeys as thinking time. Go first class if it’s over crowded. Worth the extra cost.
5. Going to bed before midnight, so that you can do much more and have a longer day. (ask a mother with a young child – they know how to be efficient)
6. Drink less alcohol – get your early mornings back and a relationship with your kids.
7. Don’t blame your lack of creativity or happiness on people, places and things. They will always let you down.
8. Stop reinventing new ways to work. Just work better and smarter. If you have to use a desk, keep it tidy. If you want to work on the beach, don’t tell your clients.’
Marksteen Adamson, partner, Arthur Steen Horne Adamson
‘I really couldn’t agree more with Steve Price. At The Yard Creative we have a similar outlook. We embrace sensible working hours and actively encourage our team to do whatever they need in order to produce the best creative work. Inspiration days are regular events, all calls go to voicemail and we head out to explore. When embarking on a project we take time to research and discover, the walls are often covered with images of inspiration and concept sketches. The most unusual place that the TYC team have worked is probably on the Eurostar, carrying out ethnographic research and creating sketch concepts for the onboard retail offer.’
Sian James-Royle, co-founder, The Yard Creative