Meet the good guys and girls from Bad Assembly. The commando-crew to call when you need something creative done on the bleeding edge of innovation and digital design. Their own websites new facelift is award-worthy in itself, as easy to navigate with your laptop arrow-keys as with your finger when using a handheld device. Try it mouse-less, I dare you, it'll be fun. The large images show off their creative solutions like those for History Channel's History.com, and 72 and Sunny's new website, which is loved by everyone who works there and FWA too as it it was mobile website of the day.
Bad Assembly have just moved in to new offices they designed in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, where their tinted glass door reminds me of old detective films. Inside, the new macs and old Playstations scattered among the Eames rocking chairs and glass tables let on that these people are digital cowboys with an eye for esthetics. Like their offices, their work too is modern, beautiful and easy to navigate - even if it had certain restrictions like walls and ceilings before they built their offices inside. Leaving the ceilings raw, it becomes part of the look, playing it up as a strength. This is how they approach all work. The bigger space is needed as Bad Assembly is growing, Lisa Connelly has joined as executive producer and they are actively keeping an eye open for more office mates. Perhaps you can join their team.
Scott Baggett, partner & creative technology, Nathan Holloway partner, resident programmer + developer, Jimmy Walker partner & creative director, have all grown up with tech: "We've all grown up with Pong and Atari" Nathan says "...and I've worked with digital technology for half of my life." This gives them the perspective needed for bridging what's intuitive to 2-years olds born with iPads in their hands and people who like us met the web on Mosaic. What's that you say, you've never heard of them? Despite their Cannes Bronze win for Unicef Tap water project that they did with Droga5? That's because they are like the pretty assistant to the magician, who is actually pulling all the strings to make the magic happen, but you we're too awed by the pretty to notice. They were key copilots behind Spaceship’s award-winning work for Coca-Cola, Sony Pictures, and a website for TBS that won a Gold Lion at Cannes and a Silver at the One Show.
Often hired in the past to be the tech-ninjas on a creative project but not always loudly credited Bad Assembly see credit from another angle: "For us it's accountability" says Scott Baggett, meaning that they should be credited when it works, because obviously they make sure it actually does. Like I always say, they only say "great idea" when it's executed flawlessly.
No project too big, they've even tested code live on Times Square to see that a facebook app did what it should. Simple images with time-stamps went from facebook app, to filter to Times Square billboard, and then to a facebook page again. The project allowed people to upload photos of themselves to digital billboards in Times Square, and then get a photo of the billboard posted to their facebook page, and what the client really didn't want happening would be someone sending something naughty to that Times Square billboard. I quip that it's only a matter of time before all billboards are interactive in some way, with touch screens, sensors and new tech becoming available these days, and all of Bad Assembly nods in agreement, clearly looking forward to doing creative things with that too:
"We're lucky. I'm lucky. Our industry keeps changing, what I do for a living today is not what I did five years ago."
says Scott Baggett who clearly loves to learn new things every day
"Sometimes we scare the out of people, like if programmers come here and realize how fast we turn around a project. There's no working on X program for six months. We learn it, apply it and produce it within days or weeks."
Playing with most everything out there, they've overlayed styles on Google Maps for the State of Pacifico beer road trip app on Facebook, and even geeked out behind the camera for projects. As if that's not enough they are all musicians too, and there's electric guitars strewn about the offices. They're like the swiss army knife of modern advertising, once you see how versatile they are you wonder what you ever did without them.
"We do everything for our clients. In every conceivable way; we’ve been on set, we’ve directed, we’ve been purely a production partner. Sometimes we come in with the idea, the creative and the execution. It really depends on what’s needed. We fit into whatever our clients want." says Jimmy Walker
Bad Assembly grew from their prior jobs at LA digital house DNA Studio (Dedicated Net Access) and when they launched Big Spaceship LA, into the tight-knit crew that they are today. Behind that detective door in downtown L.A. hides the Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe of the digital era, a gang of Hiro Protagonist's best mates armed with music and unbridled curiosity on how to make something work. If you have any digital headaches, call Bad Assembly.