Have you ever imagined how the offices of creative agencies, which produce such amazing campaigns, would look? BestMediaInfo takes you on a tour of some awesome workplaces
Akansha Mihir Mota | Mumbai | October 5, 2016
“A soul-based workplace asks things of me that I didn't even know I had. It's constantly telling me that I belong to something large in the world.” -- David Whyte
A workplace is almost everybody’s second home as we tend to spend more of the day’s time at our offices. Workplace aesthetics are really important for people to produce good quality work. Coming to the creative agencies, people there eat, breathe and live at their offices. Given the nature of the creative fraternity’s work – making creative products, designs and campaigns -- it is also important for their surroundings to inspire and take them into the thought land of creativity. So they not just produce good creative work, but also put time and effort in designing the aesthetics of their offices.
BestMediaInfo.com visited a few creatives’ offices to capture their innovatively designed second homes. Let’s embark on a tour of the creative land.
Famous Innovations: Office is second home
At the reception of the office is also the cafeteria. The moment one moves forward, he might take a step back to find an old black and white television buried in the ground under a glass. Raj Kamble, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, explained the reason behind doing this, “Old media is dead and by burying it in the ground, we make it sure that it is dead and preserved. Like this, we remind ourselves every day that old media is dead.”
Moving further in the office, one gets to see a bar on the right, which is open to people almost every Friday after 7 pm. Then, there is a big hall where people work. Towards the end, there is a big set of staircase where people can sit and work. The staircase also leads to the Japanese style sitting area, which at times becomes sleeping beds for people who stay late at night. The place has posters of Mad Men around as Kamble is a fan of the show. Isn’t it a great place to work?
Kamble said, “People need to feel good about their workplace. I wanted to design an office where people want to spend more time than their homes. Employees should be comfortable. I want them to hang out here than going home.”
Umbrella Design: Every object is creativity-driven
Seven years old, Umbrella is one of the few specialty companies to offer solutions in the areas of logo design, brand and corporate identity and lot more. They also do occasional advertising campaigns as well. Owned and managed by Bhupal Ramnathkar, he designed the entire place. He had earlier worked with DDB Needham, Dubai, DDB Mudra and Leo Burnett.
Every nook and corner of his office has creativity engraved in it. At the main entrance of the office, one can see a live-size structure of a cow hanging from the roof and colourful tubes enclosing electric wires flowing from her to everywhere. Explaining the rationale, Ramnathkar said, “Cow is holy and like a mother, from her all the power goes into all my gadgets and electric fittings around. I also like the form of the cow.”
Elaborating on the design, Ramnathkar added, “Every design in my office has a philosophy behind. The beauty of this place is that even when I am not there, people feel I am there. The beauty of this office is that wherever you will go, you will always remember the interior of this place.”
Every object in his office is creativity-driven and has a reason behind it. The office canteen has a coffee shop look with a lot of illustrations on the walls. The canteen also houses a few fighter fishes kept by Ramnathkar’s son. Ramnathkar has brought out good value for money in every design in the office. Interestingly, his cabin table is made of bathroom tiles.
DDB Mudra: Spirit of community
The lobby of the building illustrates a description of life in contemporary times using the traditional ‘Warli’ art. This style of art can be seen in different forms on each floor of the complex. The Warli art on each floor gives a feel of the ambience within that particular space. For instance, the workspace is depicted by simple triangle-and-dots figures that vividly capture day-to-day workstation activities. Warli art is also seen on the upholstery, on signage and floor coverings of every floor. The art infuses the ‘spirit of community’ throughout the building.
Commenting on the importance of aesthetics for people to enjoy work, Madhukar Kamath, Group CEO & Managing Director, DDB Mudra Group, said, “It is a very important aspect since employees spend maximum time in the day at work. If they are comfortable and relaxed they can perform better. This makes the workplace to be a happy place to be in.”
As a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environment Design) certified building, the agency has incorporated eco-friendly elements in the workplace. It has a sewage treatment plant, which helps to recycle flush water for re-usage. Kamath said, “The Mumbai heat was kept in mind while constructing the building. There is extensive use of light coloured tiles on the terrace and open air areas on the ground floor. The wide glass window panels of the building help in keeping the office bright till evening and saves energy.” He said, “The Mudra House embraces modern architectural design through the generous use of glass on its exteriors, and remains in sync with tradition through artwork displays in the interiors.”
The cafeteria on the sixth floor, aptly named ‘Mela’, serves nutritious buffets. Outside the cafeteria, one can find a giant artificial tree on the wall with hooks on the branches and leaves. So, whenever somebody new joins the office, his/her picture is hung on the tree. The terrace atop Mudra House is designed with plush landscaping along with bar facilities for in-house get-togethers. Each conference and meeting room is named after famous places where people come together.
BBDO: The ashram feel
When you enter the BBDO office, you feel like entering an ashram. In fact, BBDO calls itself BBDO Ashram. The staircase to the office has flowers and diyas on the sides and the verandah outside the office has flower rangoli. The reception welcomes you with straw mats spread on the floor, a writing desk resembling the one used by Mahatma Gandhi and, of course, the charkha.
Hemant Shringy, Executive Creative Director, BBDO, said, “The whole thing is inspired by Gandhiji’s Sabarmati Ashram. Josy and Ajay had once gone for a client visit, when they also visited the ashram. Seeking ways to ignite energy in a sealed office environment, they were attracted to the energy of congregations found in historic and religious places, rather than (conventional) boxes and cabins. Sabarmati inspired them by its powerful simplicity and higher ideology."
“BBDO’s philosophy is creating acts and not ads. If you observe our work, you’ll notice it’s more than just advertising, we try to create is a social movement and nothing represents movements as well as Gandhi does.”
The agency doesn’t believe in cabins and cubicles. It has one big desk where people sit and work together.
Emphasising on the aesthetic impact on a workplace, Shringy said, “The aesthetics of a place are highly important. The environment dictates the energy of the place and what the work is going to be. BBDO has an open environment, the place is not closed. We are not sitting in cabins and thinking. Our ideas are also not closed and are more open and fluid.”
Mullen Lintas: The animal theme
The entry of the office has a big octopus illustrated on the wall. Once one enters, the entire space is done in black and white -- a theme carried across all offices in India. The senior management guys have cabins, where pictures of animals are put, representing their nature.
The international identity of Mullen Lintas has an octopus with boxing gloves with the idea being that they punch more than the capacity. Mullen Lintas’ Indian styling of the offices is inspired from there. Garima Khandelwal, ECD, Mullen Lintas, is the person behind the interior design.
Khandelwal said, “When we were doing the interior of the office, we thought of staying with the international illustration. We thought of personalising it for us. Because of the international octopus identity, we thought of identifying our company seniors with an animal and personalise it.”
Khandelwal is a fly on the wall as she listens a lot. The fly has a glass of wine and a chanel bag and all that represents her. Ekta Relan, Senior VP & Planning Head, National Brands, Mullen Lintas, is a cheetah sitting on a bag as she has travelled a lot. Ayyappan Raj is the EVP and his image is of a monkey scratching his head and a phone in hand.
Like this, Amer Jaleel, Chairman and CCO, Mullen Lintas, is a fire fly with specs on his forehead and sneakers on. Virat Tandon, CEO, is a bear as everybody loves him. He carries a trolley bag to office. Therefore, the bear depicting him also has a trolley bag with him. Shriram Iyer, National Creative Director, Mullen Lintas wanted to be a frog and because he smokes a lot, a cigarette is shown in the hands of the frog.
Direct sunlight enters the office, which helps consume less electricity. The agency used its creative minds to keep the cabins not towards the window side but the walls so that people get enough sunlight during the day at work.
Infectious: Industry look
It’s like entering an industrial set-up. The unfinished walls of Infectious without false ceilings, water pipes, open wiring, drums from the road side and wooden pellet tables give it an industrial appeal. Other than just the aesthetics, at various time intervals, the agency has sessions termed as ‘Bheja Fry’, where the industry stalwarts come and give lectures. Lunch is on the house on a daily basis.
Nisha Singhania, Director, Infectious, said, “More than aesthetics it is about comfort. Your surroundings impact your work. I want people to come, relax and work. It’s a place where people would want to come and work.”
What’s your Problem: Illustrating journey
The digital agency’s cool office is themed white and yellow. There is a full glass wall where an illustration of a campaign making journey is depicted in a very funny way.
Amit Akali, Co-Founder, WYP Brand Solutions, said, “We are a self-funded company and to cut on cost, everything at the office has been kept simple and designed by us.
Huzefa, Roowala, Director, Content & Creative, WYP Brand Solutions, said, “We didn’t want to give our office a corporate feel. Therefore, we have an open space. There is just one cabin and a conference room. The place was left open for people to select where they want to sit. I have made sure that the company colours -- yellow and white -- come out.
Each chair in the office has the abbreviation of the agency’s name cut out of a yellow leather piece stuck behind. The idea was to keep chairs in a sequence of WYP, but that doesn’t happen and random names come out when the chairs are kept together in ad-hoc manner.
Social Street: Stories start on the street
The office is done in white and red brand colour and is full of illustrations, symbolising its philosophies. The illustrations depict various scenes of the streets.
The brand’s philosophy is that stories start on the street. They are inspired by the lives of people and the interesting mind-spaces where they intersect with brands. The agency finds, tells and amplify those stories, no matter what form they take. We make sure that they are powerfully rooted in an authentic brand truth or its point of view.
Pratap Bose, Chairman & Co-Founder, Social Street, said, “If you are in the communication space, it is very important to have a place that is conducive and comes up with an atmosphere that is creative. The most important thing is that the employee needs to feel comfortable. It is not always about the wackiest things. People need to be happy in the environment. You may have the sexiest office, but if it not conducive, then it is of no productivity.”