Bryan Taylor

The Bard, Part 3: Ideate, Make, Shoot, Post, Engage

The Bard Building is a blank canvas. The walls are now simple, white concrete and bare plywood; the floors are raw concrete and decades-old fir. We purposefully left the building unpolished, unperfect, and “unprofessional.” Too many buildings are built to be perfectly comfortable and leave nothing to keep pushing for, to refine, to inspire, to expand.

Our idea was to build something in response to the fact that the world is changing fast, and particularly, how much change can be seen in the ways in which people engage, communicate, influence, purchase, and support brands. And since we live in such a fast-changing, engagement-centric world, it seems appropriate to build a space that accommodates changes and facilitates more elastic engagements.

The Bard Loft is an open perch filled with nooks, crannies, and cubbies for productivity. Up here, we strategize, plan, design, program, monitor, report, and communicate with clients near and far. We have nine north-facing windows, three of which open, and all of which look out at a tall oak in the neighbor’s yard. With headphones on and heads down, a lot of solo progress is accomplished in this space, shoulder to shoulder but all quietly shaded by the equally quiet oak.

"Too many buildings are built to be perfectly comfortable and leave nothing to keep pushing for, to refine, to inspire, to expand."

The Bard's loft. Photo: Trask Bedortha/Drawn

In the back of house is a complete wood shop, full of tools and routers and laser cutters to prototype, problem-solve, and construct ideas; to share and adorn our client’s products. In addition to building all of the furniture on which these ideas are conceived, we also build tap handles for a brewery; POP displays for clients, featuring brochures and offers; and displays for use at tradeshows and mobile pop-up events. We also build and photograph little pieces to expand our clients’ social reach — much more of that is to come. With ideation upstairs and a shop mere steps away, saws, laser cutters, and all kinds of creativity wait to turn ideas into beautifully tangible objects ready to be shot and promoted.

The Bard’s main deck is comprised of various meeting spaces. We greet friends in a waiting area that doubles as bike parking, just inside the front door. We meet as a team in the “laboratory,” lit with lights from a naval ship’s lab and divided from the main deck. At the opposite end of the building, the small kitchen is flanked with tables for conversing around food, and the gathering stairs (a wide staircase joined with bleacher seating) form a gathering space between the lab and kitchen in which to share presentations, talk in groups, or pop some popcorn and watch a film. The main deck also includes a photography studio, white-walled and ready to light, showcase, and shoot products, illustrations, models, and people.

Photo: Trask Bedortha/Drawn

The “submarine” is our dug-down conference room, built half underground, where we come together and collaborate, present, or push ideas that are in need of team refinement. The walls are covered in birch plywood but coated with a dry erase surface to receive our ideas. We video conference with team members and clients who aren’t locally available, and we eat lunch together every Monday during our Weekly 90, an hour and a half-long stretch of catching up and brainstorming any opportunity ready for a creative solution. 

 

"Our idea was to build something in response to the fact that the world is changing fast, and particularly, how much change can be seen in the ways in which people engage, communicate, influence, purchase, and support brands."

The Bard is, at its essence, a makerspace — a workshop designed to ideate, make, shoot, post, and engage with the world on behalf of our clients and, sometimes, ourselves. We create social posts and tap handles and photograph bottle labels for ColdFire, all envisioned, designed, built, and shared with the world from inside the walls of the Bard. We create watercolor imagery and advertising campaigns for Coconut Bliss. We dreamt and designed and developed Opus Grows, the best soil in the world. 

Every morning, we walk into an office that can simply act like a traditional advertising agency, if it wants to. Or, it can act like a makerspace. It is ready for this emerging world that’s hungry for quick and constant engagement to ideate, make, shoot, post, and interact with the world. And that is what makes every day at the Bard an invigorating experience.