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Interview with Amsterdam Worldwide’s Richard Gorodecky

On Tansu, Clones and Life as a Hologram
  Posted on 28 June 2010
  by Angela Natividad

Last week, before all the Cannes fun and games were over, I scored an interview with ECD Richard Gorodecky of Amsterdam Worldwide (@amsterdamww).

You remember AW as the agency that did the Tansu shoe for Onitsuka Tigers, which won Design Gold at Cannes Lions in the Corporate/Brand Identity category.

Some background: this giant shoe is composed of multiple cupboards and openings in the Japanese Tansu style. Users that are able to unlock the compartments get to keep what’s inside. The agency also made a digital version with revelations that include product information and free stuff.

A little context on this interview: he, Kerrie Finch and I took seats on the terrace of the Majestic. We made small-talk and every once in awhile they’d randomly mention suckling pig.

“I don’t get this reference,” I said after about the eighth time.

“Let me explain,” Kerrie said. “You know that question, ‘Is TV the new hearth’? We were saying earlier that it can’t be the new hearth because you can’t roast a suckling pig on it.”

I nodded somberly, leaping on the thread like an obedient member of the oddvertising generation. “I don’t trust any technology you can’t roast a pig on,” I decided.

“Finally someone who sees things the way I do!” Richard exclaimed, throwing his hands up.

This became an ongoing theme, which unfortunately doesn’t get captured at all in the video. But just prior, Richard somberly divulged that he’s a hologram, not a real human being – which sets the tone for the spoon-on-nose action that kicks the recording off.

I promise that at some point we discuss the Onitsuka Tigers campaign. It comes in a bit after 2:40, most of which consisted of spoon-balancing, considering whether clones deserve human rights, making life with Jesus, and Moon.

My favourite thing about this interview? That it wasn’t all mad tea party. Richard’s warmth and imagination leaps across the tabletop and causes a positive fracas, but what resonates is a real appreciation for what Amsterdam Worldwide created with the Tansu shoe, an elaborate labour of four months by four carvers.

Per Richard: it was apparently so beautiful that Amsterdam Worldwide had a second one made for the agency “because we just couldn’t possibly let it go and never see it again.” He confessed he often explores the boxes himself, even today.

All the secrets of the Tansu shoe, which is still touring stores, have yet to be revealed. There’s at least one compartment in the unit that hasn’t been unlocked yet, and it will remain so until a casual passerby knows how to.

Careful when opening – there’s a tiger inside. And it’s probably a samurai.

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