London Town serves as the beautiful backdrop of a vibrant new space for Havas Villagers in the UK. Situated at one of the city’s major transportation hubs, Kings Cross, the HKX building is a new center for creative firepower and collaboration—unifying 24 agencies from across the country. A site that’s been nearly three years in the making, HKX is home to more than 1700 teammates, including those from Media, AIS London and Havas Helia, who are using the 165,000-square-feet property to work—and play. The building’s modern, distinctive, open design is meant to spark creativity and collaboration across disciplines, including content, data, media, and social
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How would you describe your village culture?
It’s still a work in progress, but so far the most exciting thing that is happening all around us is the collision of people and their ideas. Every day you can hear the moment a new connection is made that could unlock more of the potential in all our businesses.
What makes your village a great place to work?
The difference the buzz makes is amazing. Having been spread so far apart in the past, it’s so energising to be surrounded by all these brilliant people doing different things. It’s inspiring. You can really get to understand the breadth and depth of what HKX can do—for us and for our clients.
After such a long time being spread out in buildings that were tired—and some of them literally falling apart—it is so uplifting to come to work every day in a space flooded with light and built for a modern creative business. And the coffee’s amazing too.
How are the teams getting to know each other?
Mainly in the bar. Definitely the bar and cafe. It’s the perfect place for people to hang out and many end up working down there too. And recently there was a dance off with Louie Spence for Comic Relief. The talk of the whole Village was Socialyse’s Harry Sullivan and his incredible twerking. Some of us will never be the same again.
How does the city that you work in effect the culture of your village?
London is such an inspiring place creatively, and we are so lucky to be at the heart of it here in Kings Cross. Our neighbours in the Village are Google and Central St Martins and next year Universal Music and Vivendi will move in. We know how lucky we are to be helping build a new cultural and creative centre for London, and we hope to work more closely together with the whole community.
What recent work is most talked about around the Village?
We are most proud of our beautiful Christmas ad for Heathrow Airport. A great idea, a great client and such a heartwarming result. Made on a fraction of the usual big budgets thrown at the festive slot, our bears captured the hearts of viewers all over the world—in fact the film has been viewed more than a billion times so far, and even Russell Brand named it the winner of the 2016 UK Christmas ad battle.
What’s the biggest piece in the London Village that’s got people talking?
Our staircase. It was commissioned especially for HKX and is made of steel etched with a map of London. It’s beautiful, but it’s bad.
What specific steps is your team taking to advance the Together ethos here at Havas?
Our UK Chairman Chris Hirst is talking to every single business in the Village, spreading the word that we must all move too fast rather than too slow. There is loads of momentum to make new things happen that truly integrate all our specialisms and expertise at HKX. We’re brimming with ideas. So it’s just about empowering everyone to go to it.