As I walk into the large spacious office of Amsterdam Worldwide in the center of the city for a meeting with the agency's CEO Brian Elliot and his executive creative director Richard Gorodecky, I wonder for the twentieth time since I've arrived here on why we don't design our office spaces better? Who wants cold steel and dull wooden separators when you can have open work spaces with more colour on the wall? Why isn't office interiors a subject of workplace democracy? I can easily imagine people wanting to spend more time in their office if only it didn't remind them of their years in school, complete with iron railed windows and grey walls.
Brian and Richard talk about the agency, the implications of the economic downturn on independent shops such as theirs and of course, their Onitsuka Tiger campaign which won them a Silver Cyber Lion at Cannes this year as well as a shortlist in the Titanium category. My interest is piqued enough to ask for directions to the brand's nearest shoe store and I am promptly given directions.
The evening sees me at the office of the BNO (the Dutch abbreviation for the association of Dutch designers) where they are going to have a series of speakers talking about the opportunities for Dutch and Indian designers looking to collaborate with each other. The Indian designers say they are interested in learning best practices, processes etc while the Dutch say they are interested in reaching out to the Indian market, either to collaborate with Indian agencies for projects in India or to reach out to Indian brands looking to enter the European market.
I have every intention of taking time out to see the city in the evening, the only dampener is that shops here shut early, as early as 6pm, except Thursdays when they are open till 9pm. I pull out my camera and prepare to take a stroll. Sometimes, it's quite alright to behave touristy. Just don't tell anyone.