Just as religions have churches and temples to materialise their spiritual credo and bring believers together, creativity also needs a tangible space capable of embodying its values and concepts and to congregate talent.
I started Neogama/BBH with this conviction in mind, certain that the agency headquarters could not be a "smart", "artish" or merely decorative adaptation of an existing space. It would have to be an original architectural conception built from scratch – a physical creative statement with meaning and identity made visible.
You don’t have a second chance to make a first impression. I wanted the building to make the visitor feel and see that our belief in creativity and visual impact is applied in our day-to-day working and surrounding reality. Visitors entering the agency for the first time would understand this immediately, without words.
For the design of the building itself, I called on the Brazilian architecture duo André Vainer and Gui Paoliello, long-time collaborators with one of the big names in the country’s modernist architecture: the late Lina Bo Bardi. For the visual identity, I called on Claudia Issa, one of the best graphic designers in Brazil.
Together, we blended our visions and the project was born in the form of a very-well-integrated group idea. In fact, the first idea you see when entering Neogama is Neogama itself. There’s concept and meaning in everything inside the building, from the agency’s colour theme – yellow – to the lounge reception that hosts frequent guest presentations and speeches by artists and creatives working in fields beyond advertising and communications. We have already had Marina Abramovi´c debating her world-famous performance art there, and Ferreira Gullar, Brazil’s most important living poet, talking about his work and debating the power of the word with our staff.
The space was built to inspire, reward the senses and constantly remind everyone inside that our mission – expressed right there around us – is to stand out, create awareness and build a differentiated perception of brands. The whole project is rooted in the "less is more" and "form follows function" mindsets, never forgetting that it is also our function to create form.
Alexandre Gama is the worldwide chief creative officer at Bartle Bogle Hegarty