For the third year running, Scriberia were asked by our good friends, The Partners, to create Deloitte's installation at the annual World Economic Forum, in the Swiss resort town of Davos. It’s a great opportunity to show off our talents in front of the world's top business leaders, politicians and assorted celebrities, not to mention to muck around in some snow.
Deloitte, once again, hired out the entrance and exit corridors of the Belvedere Hotel, through which everyone at the conference passes several times a day. But instead of drawing directly onto the plain white paneled walls, as we had in previous years, this year’s Scriberians, Jack Brougham and I, were working on a vast pixelated landscape, created with 18,000 sticky-backed paper notes. Over the course of the week, we would fill this landscape with illustrations of the content gathered from Deloitte’s Twitter feed, with the hashtag: #ImpactThatMatters.
After landing at Zurich, we were met by our driver, Corrado, and made the long drive into the mountains. Gaining altitude, the snow fell thickly and the car struggled to hold the road around the hairpin bends. At least, arriving a couple of days before the event, the roads were yet to be criss-crossed with endless checkpoints and squads of armed police.
On meeting the Deloitte team at their hotel, we received what is the customary Davos welcome – vast platters of cheese and cured meats – before a postprandial expedition to the venue; the perfect opportunity for the first of several snowball skirmishes.
On Sunday, we began the epic task of plastering the endless white corridors with the thousands of sticky notes. Once we had perfected our technique, it turned out to be a surprisingly therapeutic task. Though, the hotel staff, on discovering their floors littered with the discarded plastic backs, didn’t seem to agree.
After a hard day’s sticking, we’d covered more than half of the space, and decided to call it day and were delivered to the flat that was to be our rather intimate quarters for the rest of the trip. We were delighted to discover a few left-over beers in the fridge.
More stickering followed the next day to complete the set of scenes that ran the length of the corridors. They looked looked stunning – and we hadn’t opened a single pen yet.
The real work started on Tuesday morning and thanks to the ‘pixels’, Jack and I had a lot less acreage to fill with ink; we could focus on quality without having to worry too much about quantity. But, we had to work hard to produce images that could match the backdrop The Partners had designed, in terms of impact. In fact, the concept gifted us a lot of opportunities for creative thinking, as our characters could play and interact with their pixelated environment.
Jack and I both enjoy a bit of friendly competition. We enjoy trying to out-do each other in style and thinking, with the joint goal of producing the best work we can. On a world-stage, like Davos, we wanted to showcase the best of Scriberia. But we were also keenly aware that we were giving voice to some really important content. #ImpactThatMatters provided a rich seam of thought-provoking ideas about creating a fairer and more equitable world, and it was up to us to do those ideas justice and put them where they’d be seen.
As the walls filled up, the flow of delegates – and the flow of compliments – grew steadier. There we’d be, immersed in the task of finding the perfect visual metaphor for eradicating poverty through improved access to education, only to look up to see the likes of Will.i.am or Richard Branson admiring our handiwork, which does wonders for a scribe’s self esteem.
By Friday, the whole extraordinary circus was packing up for another year. And what a week it’d been. We were utterly exhausted – limbs aching, brains fried, and pens depleted - but we left knowing we’d all done ourselves proud.