It is not every day a client is greeted by a moose head when they arrive for a meeting.
The imposing figure on the wall at Gingermonkeys, a creative design agency based in Tunbridge Wells, is a small part of the weird and wacky office conceived by its managing director and founder Trevor Smith-Foreman.
“I really wanted to create a space that reflected my personality,” said the entrepreneur, who has been in the design industry for more than 40 years.
“I want us to stand out. We’re creative people and I want everyone to understand that the second they walk up the stairs and see the first hallway graphic, it’s pretty clear they’re not in a normal, boring office environment anymore.”
With zebra-skin wallpaper, a spaceship-like pod, purple leather seats and a Versailles-inspired fireplace, there is little doubt clients are visiting somewhere unique.
Completed in the summer, the decoration is actually the second incarnation of the office design. The concept started to take place in Mr Smith-Foreman’s mind in the latter half of 2015 and took several months to complete.
Visitors are greeted with a personalised 3D graphic on the office’s welcome screen and can relax in the Champagne fridge and bar area.
Mr Smith-Foreman, who grew up in Tunbridge Wells, said it was a reaction to the trend for design agency offices to be “bland and boring”, with white walls, big windows and Ikea desks.
He said: “I wanted to design a studio that my staff would take pride in.
“We love showing visitors around. We always want to go the extra mile and that’s what people see when they walk into our world.”
Established in 2000, Gingermonkeys designs websites and animations but also traditional media like vehicle liveries, merchandise and printed materials.
Its clients span the fashion industry to the insurance sector.
It recently completed architectural CGIs for a Mayfair property and made an event stand for a classic car show and branding for a nearby hotel.
Steve Coles, an illustrator at the firm, who lives in Dartford, said: “It’s so refreshing to turn up to work every day and be in a surrounding that nurtures our creativity.
“The studio reflects our personalities and also showcases some of the talent that we have here.
“Welcoming guests to the studio for the first time is always a treat, just to see the look on their faces as they never expect to see what they are faced with – especially not the moose’s head mounted on the wall.
“Even if you have an idea of what you expect a modern design studio to look like, you have to multiply that by 1,000 to get an idea of this one. It blows people’s minds.”
Author – Chris Price