LDN-SYD Exchange 2022
This September, we launched our global exchange program. We gave our team the opportunity to switch studios for a month to work on new clients with a new team in a new city.
What was your favourite moment/s of the exchange?
Rachel: Having heard a lot about the Sydney team since I joined Re nearly 5 years ago it was great to finally put faces to names. Unsurprisingly, everyone was super welcoming and lovely and it’s made me feel part of a global team rather than separate offices.
Annabel: Having the opportunity to work on the D&AD Awards 2023 campaign was really special. As was sitting next to Nick Cave at lunch one day.
Michelle: I’d have to second Annabel’s answer, working on D&AD was such a full circle moment for both of us. Our careers practically started winning the New Blood D&AD awards.
What was the biggest learning of your exchange?
Rachel: Generally being out of my comfort zone, but I loved being somewhere new and working with a different team and seeing all the amazing work everyone was doing. Also, adapting to early mornings… There’s a reason why coffee shops are open early in Sydney.
Annabel: That we should lean into cross-studio collaboration more! It was so fun getting to know the specialities of the London studio and introducing them to the Sydney and Melbourne offices. Looking forward to more of it in future.
Michelle: That getting out of comfort zones is good for you. Working with new people, on new projects, in a new environment… best thing I’ve done this year.
Where did you go for inspiration and ideas?
Rachel: I spent a lot of time walking and ambling between areas, until I came across cute coffee shops or lovely harbour views. I was very spoilt for choice and took the opportunity to pick up drawing again.
Going to museums like The White Rabbit and MCA was also great to see different types of work to what you’d see in London.
Annabel: As a writer, I go to people for inspiration. For the D&AD project, we were looking for IYKYK-style moments, so I surveyed specialists within our network to get the most authentic ideas. My favourite was our 3D designer’s ‘4-day render benders’.
Michelle: Honestly, I think because the city was so new to me, I literally got inspiration from every corner. Not to mention, Soho is such a hub – what a vibey spot for an office. The food! The old buildings! The shopping! Perhaps I was getting more inspired to shop, which I indeed did.
I think my favourite moments for inspiration though were sitting in our (Annabel and I’s) lovely terrace garden. I’d often sit there working, watching cats and squirrels walk across the back fence. We even got a big fox meander along once!
What was the creative culture like in London/ Sydney? How did it differ to back home?
Rachel: It felt pretty familiar in terms of what everyone was looking at, sometimes I’d see the same cultural references pop up on London and Sydney slacks, only 10 hours apart. I was however pointed to Australian artists and designers that I hadn’t heard of before which was great.
Annabel: Sydney and Melbourne are quaint country towns compared to London. Being amidst the hustle and bustle of Soho was wild and makes you feel well and truly a part of the creative community. Being able to look out the window down Carnaby Street was always surreal.
Michelle: I think the creative culture is really similar in both locations. There’s a consistent passion for genuine ideas, and beautiful work across the board. Luckily we were on exchange during London Design Festival, so there were many programs and events happening in the city. The industry in London is definitely thriving. I was particularly intrigued by an Augmented reality exhibit, hopefully there’s a place for this in more of our projects.
Any phrases/ dishes/ drinks/ rituals you'll be taking home with you?
Rachel: If I could’ve packed Sydney (and Melbourne’s) cafe culture I would’ve, London has a lot to live up to.
Potato on pizza and It’s a vibe were the real winners for me.
Annabel: So many phrases - ‘noodling around’ a definite favourite. Soho was a dream for food. Berwick Market was the best but I wish I could have a Kati roll every day. Pub punters commandeering every street corner <3 (shout out John Snow). I would love to take this back to Syd/Melb but our laws are too strict.
Michelle: So many phrases. I got weirdly obsessed with people saying “hiya”, I think I’ll start using that one.
Any advice for future exchanger's?
Rachel: Prepare for your headshot to do the rounds pre and post arrival… More importantly, always ask designers and your colleagues for recommendations, they have great taste *chefs kiss*. Thanks Sydney-siders!
Annabel: Time goes very quickly. Organise things early and make them happen. Go to galleries at lunch, go out every night, see everything, and message Michelle and me if you’re going to London.
Michelle: Don’t stay super close to the office – in the end I’m so glad we stayed in Hoxton rather than Soho. You’ll see and experience more that way.