When leading communication services multinational WPP decided to roll-out its global co-location strategy in Amsterdam it meant bringing together 15 WPP agencies that previously operated from 11 different locations into one single location. To achieve this they acquired the Rivierstaete building, once Europe’s biggest office building. Demolition and a new build would have been the easiest option but due to the special character and great potential of this iconic building, WPP decided to opt for regenerating it instead.
Refurbished by WPP’s architectural and design consultancy BDG, the previously empty and unloved Rivierstaete building (locally nicknamed ‘the monkey rock) has been transformed into a 19,000m2 modern working campus environment that acts as both an innovative workplace and community space for its 1500 people in the city.
Located on the river Amstel, the striking, box-stacked structure has been transformed into a new centre of creativity in the heart of Amsterdam, boasting impressive terraces, restaurants, a rooftop bar, a business lounge and an event space. Each new WPP campus is designed to provide world-class spaces that bring together its people and agencies in one location, encouraging greater collaboration and giving clients easier access to all of WPP’s talent and expertise.
WPP turned to us to develop a name, brand identity, attitude and tone of voice for the Amsterdam Campus.
Not only did the new identity need to capture the creative DNA of all 15 of WPP’s Dutch agencies and their sum total of 1500 employees, it also needed to establish the campus as an important new landmark in the city of Amsterdam. The end result needed to be a total brand identity immersed into every aspect of the campus – from logotype, iconography, wayfinding and tone to custom furniture, interactive installations and statement walls.
We renamed the building Amsteldok. Its name references the campus’s location on the banks of the Amstel River, Amsterdam’s maritime history and the city’s current status as an important gateway to Europe. We wanted a logotype that was directly inspired by the physical structure and found the Amsterdam School of Architecture – an expressive 20th century style predominant throughout the city – an important inspiration for its typographic forms. We envisioned a dynamic logotype that mimicked the campus’s urban verticality, and a graphic language that fully embraced the campus strategy as a ‘breathing space that breaks down walls’. Responsible for all physical and digital environments, we were in a unique position to use design to bring all 15 WPP agencies together. Design would contribute to the campus as a living entity, not just another staid structure. A campus that breathes creativity and collaboration.
Like all signature Amsterdam School structures, we embedded the identity into the physical campus: tactile hero signage, typographic floor furniture, etched wall renderings, crafted directory totem and embossed counters. The logotype also functions as a template for all online/digital programming and communication – from digital posters, announcements and social events (speaker programs). The colour palette was also directly derived from the architectural materials used by the architects. Wayfinding was an integral part of the spatial experience. We designed playful wayfinding icons that reflect familiar Dutch things – bike icons that look like the ones you find on Amsterdam streets, glass icons in the shape of Heineken glasses, etc. All these elements contribute to a real campus identity and unite 15 radically different WPP agencies as a single whole.
The name, brand identity, templates and technology were integrated at the campus in the lead up to the official opening on April 1, 2019 by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, and WPP CEO Mark Read. The campus now houses all 15 WPP Dutch agencies and 1500 people. It has quickly become an Amsterdam landmark. Moving forward, WPP has indicated it will use our visual identity framework for all its WPP campuses worldwide.
‘We wanted to develop a brand identity for our campus in Amsterdam that reflected both the vision and the values of our company, while celebrating the environment and city in which the building is set. The agency delivered on every level.’
Max Holliday, Head of Real Estate EMEA, WPP
- Creative Directors Graham Sturt (VBAT I SUPERUNION)
- Art Directors –
- Designers Maarten van Disseldorp, Martin Cadwallader (VBAT I SUPERUNION)
- Illustrators –
- Photographers –
- Editors –
- Copywriters –
- Brand Director (VBAT I SUPERUNION) Mark van Egmond (VBAT I SUPERUNION)
- Client Director (VBAT I SUPERUNION) Robbert Dickmann (VBAT I SUPERUNION)
- Junior Designer (VBAT I SUPERUNION) Craig Berry (VBAT I SUPERUNION)
- Junior Designer (VBAT I SUPERUNION) Joe Faulding (VBAT I SUPERUNION)
- DTP (VBAT I SUPERUNION) Paul Bakker (VBAT I SUPERUNION)
- Typographers Jason Smith, Pedro Arilla, Phil Garnham (Fontsmith)
- Senior Creatives Phil Garnham. John Lenehan, Chris Page (Acrylicize)