Use the siesta!
The words “Shit is happening here” are written on the washroom door at the entrance of achos!, an office and co-working space in Barcelona. This exemplifies the humour with which work is done here – certainly not the results. The space is located in the middle of Barcelona’s hip Born district and is on its way to becoming one of the newest and most in-demand agencies in the city. It is an example of a new form of creative work.
Our interviewee is called Ben Barber. He is half Dutch, half English, has Italian roots and has been living in Barcelona for over 9 years. After just a few minutes of conversation one can already tell he is innovative and fearless; a young surfer-dude with a mischievous smile.
The young graphic designer co-founded achos! with a former fellow student three years ago. It is a communications and interactive design agency. “In the beginning, we were both still studying and just took on a few simple contracts.” Since then, Ben has been living his dream of independence and creative freedom. He tells us “permanent employment would only inhibit my creativity.” His partner recently just moved to Bali – they will continue working together at a distance.
With creativity to success
So far, the agency’s success has proven him right. By way of viral videos and other actions, the two young creatives already drew both their customers and competitors attention not long after founding achos!. Not only did they receive much praise in social media and the design press, but they also won awards for excellent creative work and self-marketing. Their work is impossible to categorize: it is virtual and real, digital and handmade, art and advertising. Everything, however, is influenced by their key requirement: “Provocar reacciones!“ (Provoke a reaction!).
They manage this goal, for example, by stealing work. And that is meant in the truest sense of the word. Sagmeister & Walsh, a well-established design agency based in New York, had long set up a live webcam showing a scene within their office. In this scene, filmed from a bird’s eye perspective, carpets were used as menu items within the website. This provided achos! with the perfect opportunity to stage a room operation. They recreated the office and filmed a scene in which masked robbers steal the menu item “Work”. Finally, they created a fake press website and promoted their “fake news” massively via Twitter and Facebook. It was a huge, viral, success.
To us freedoms for own creativity
Why are they so well-known and successful? They are fearless, turn their ideas into action and dare to take the new road. Ben’s advice for other young creative individuals: use whatever freedoms the job offers, don’t be ‘tamed’ by existing structures, try new things and don’t give up too soon. A strong network with other creative start-ups, as they have found and continue to build on in Barcelona, is helpful.
During his short stint with employment at the beginning of his career, Ben used the daily 2-hour Siesta to work on his own ideas. Or, at night, he went to Barcelona’s Metro for brainstorming in order to implement – with much passion and energy – his own ideas of creativity. His current business partner had a job as a metro driver during that time, while dreaming of a freer and more creative life.
Ben wants to know: which topics are important for other agencies at the moment?