A lovely day with AKQA

I’m a bit of a purist and as a Peter Brook fan, always subscribed to the concept of theatre as any time, any place, any where. The Empty Space is a lovely exposition on the processes of a great creative individual. I recommend.

But I have to endorse and support Mark’s position on the value of Creative Spaces. As ever he writes an  invaluable post and highlights a useful new idea that may finally end the tyranny of swirly carpets and duff lighting in "corporate" venues.

Still working out how we define a creative space. What I do know is that natural light, architectural interest, vibrant location and provocative external stimuli  have a positive effect on how we feel about ourselves. Working in those spaces gives our ideas value. When we work alongside people whose product excites, provokes or intrigues, it raises our game.

This vague thinking (like most of my cognitive processes) was endorsed yesterday at Sadlers Wells with the lovely people from AKQA. Great to work with; smart, creative, productive and not afraid of taking risks. The result was of course real progression in their development. We looked at how we manage clients.  Creative ways to achieve our objectives with an audience. How to design content and how to plan work that has a clear story, supported by rich imagery and sound.

Phew…

There is  no doubt in my mind that the wheels were oiled by the stuff around us.  Dutch graffiti artists sprayed the foyer, aerosol cans a gogo, blasting hip hop,  in preparation for this weekends throbbingly happening hip hop convention. (Have a look at the stuff onstage from last years weekender.I cry with jealousy) Detailed, dynamic, technically stunning animations leapt off  walls. A flamenco company stomped (or whatever the technical term is)  below and snake-hipped boys practiced their routines on the stairs as they queued for an audition.

We happily watched and felt part of the action.  We threw around ideas for charitable organizations, we brainstormed ways to enliven brand perception and we rehearsed stories that flung clients right to the emotional heart of what we felt they were trying to achieve.

Sadlers Wells is always worth exploring, irrespective of what’s going on and a place I take many clients to. As a subsidised arts venue they need our money. It is a glass, wood and steel temple of architectural porn, standing on 250 years of theatre history. Fab cafe open to the public.  Right near the shops of Upper Street. What’s not to like?

All midst a hear stoppingly beautiful London day. Blossom hanging on for dear life, Islington looking as pretty as could be, blue skies and the tow path back to Victoria Park feeling like the best cycle ride ever.

It all felt very special and we felt special to be a part of it. People shift, they were away from their desks, no interruptions and far more ready to learn.They felt valued.

I know they have all gone back to their desks feeling more confident and with things they can do immediately. It’s all about action.

We covered loads and I left them in the bar, smiling.

3rd May, 2007