Successful post-production house
Glassworks Amsterdam, a sibling of the London-based post-production company, is located on the picturesque 17th-century Keizersgracht. The Amsterdam office was founded in 2007 and specialises in adding digital visual effects to film, from filling a football stadium with a crowd for sports drink Powerade to creating entire photoreal 3D animations for Adidas. What stands out about Glassworks Amsterdam is that while it has gained international fame through big-budget global campaigns, it is also fully embedded in the local market. According to Dutch managing director Olivier Klønhammer, Glassworks London had a good reason for opening an Amsterdam office seven years ago. “They were already working for several Amsterdam-based advertising agencies and since at the time there weren’t any international post-production houses in Amsterdam, there was a tremendous opportunity.”
In hindsight it was a smart move, as today the agency is one of the most successful post-production companies in Amsterdam. “In the beginning we often flew in colleagues from London, but we are now standing on our own feet, with a broad client portfolio.”
Glassworks collaborates with international agencies, such as Wieden+Kennedy, 72andSunny and Anomaly, plus global brands such as Nike and Dutch denim brand G-Star. As noted though, the company also embraces the local market by working with creative agencies such as production houses Czar and Pink Rabbit and advertising agencies TBWA and Selmore. Klønhammer says: “Amsterdam is part of our DNA, so it’s only logical that we work with and for local clients. What we like about working locally is that the communication is more direct and that clients want to build long-term, solid relationships. This is something we really appreciate.”
This is why Glassworks always guards a healthy balance between global and local projects. “We never turn a project down solely for the money. If we believe it adds to our creative portfolio we don’t mind when it is commercially less interesting,” says Klønhammer. An example of also having a strong foot in the local creative culture is ‘Artworks’, an exhibition organised a few times a year to offer beginning artists a platform. Apart from being known as a blast of a party, the event attracts Amsterdam’s creative elite, turning Glassworks into an important creative hub.
Klønhammer, who has lived in different places around the world, enjoys Amsterdam – especially for its organised chaos. “There’s so much happening in such a small city. It really is a global village.” But it’s not just about feeling at home in Amsterdam. Most foreign creative agencies opening an office in Amsterdam are attracted to the city’s creative buzz. “Compared to the rest of the world, there seems to be more room to experiment here, which is probably why there is such an abundance of ads, films and animations coming from the city.” Despite – or perhaps thanks to – Amsterdam’s many creative distractions, Glassworks has built up a strong international reputation for being one of the most qualitative digital shops around. “That’s how we live the philosophy of our British founder Hector McCloud,” Klønhammer says – “running a boutique company that is capable of doing high-end jobs.”