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Independent Influence: Why Chandelier is taking their entire team to France for inspiration

#ChandelierFrenchKissTour gives agency a Parisian adventure

Richard Christiansen thinks people should turn off their collective televisions and experience the world. The founder and creative director of creative agency Chandelier is a world traveler himself, having recently climbed Mt. Everest and trekked across Antarctica.

When his independent agency announced a #ChandelierFrenchKissTour and encouraged his employees to go on a scavenger hunt and post their findings to Instagram and other social media, it fit right in line with Christiansen’s bounder of adventure aesthetic. The hashtag for the scavenger hunt has been made public so others can experience the fun and exploration too. Visiting #ChandelierFrenchKissTour lets people see the fun content put up by the participants and encourages them to suggest places to go around Paris and in France.

The tour has already kicked off with a trip to the Palace at Versailles, where the Chandelier team received a French 101 lesson to help get them around. The crew will next host a salon series with iconic names in fashion and luxury. At the Salon Series, the staff will have an opportunity to ask questions to the panel about French “Sleeping Beauties,” a term applied to legacy luxury brands which get new life from an injection of investment and modern marketing with digital innovation.

If this sounds like a mix of work and pleasure, it’s because Christiansen always blurs the lines between work and play. He doesn’t believe in a “work life” and a “private life” – he believes in “one life.” He encourages his staff to be curious about the world, to meet people and see new things, which ultimately will be reflected in the work the agency does for clients like Old Navy, Hallmark, Virgin Cruises, Banana Republic, Sephora and Target.

This Paris scavenger hunt isn’t the first jet setting work-vacation the Chandelier team has gone on. Last year, the crew went to Tokyo and the team came back more inspired than ever. According to the company, the staff continues to instill the ceremonial traditions they learned from Japan’s maker culture in their everyday lives and in work.

“Each day, the Tokyo adventure was divided up into themes based around the classical humanities: art, architecture, design, food, etc. One of the greatest things about Tokyo is that you can get the feeling of cultural displacement – everything feels new and foreign in a world where everything is beginning to look and feel the same,” wrote Christiansen in a statement to The Drum.

So why Paris this year, a place that seems familiar to many? Perhaps it’s because Christiansen has a dream of working with the brand Hermes, as he said in a revealing interview with Garance Dore. Or maybe it’s just that Paris has some of the finest culture and history in the world and Christiansen wanted them to dig deep and discover what makes it such a magical place. That’s why Christensen added the scavenger hunt element to the trip.

“The Paris Scavenger Hunt adventure is designed to have everyone set outside their comfort zones and integrate a little with the city. It also required deep immersion into some of Paris's best art, architecture and branding. Over 100 tasks are suggested in locations all over Paris's galleries, parks, buildings, shops and restaurants. The more audacious the task, the more points its worth,” wrote Christiansen.

Some of the tasks include:

  • Find a particular icon inside a painting in the Louvre Museum (250 points)
  • Find the Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp in the Catacombs (150 points)
  • Find the relief sculpture designed by Alfred Auguste Janniot in the façade of Palais de Tokyo
  • Find Neptune’s beard at the Fontaine Medicis (250 points)
  • Sneak into a bed at The Ritz (1000 points)
  • Get a tattoo (we have hired a whole Tattoo parlor for the team) (400 points)
  • Talk your way into a one of Paris' private underground pools (1000 points)
  • Talk your way into Paris Vogue and get a photo behind the reception desk (1000 points)

Aside from the scavenger hunt, there are plenty of group activities to fill the hours, and we’re not talking holding hands and singing campfire songs. Some gems are:

  • A private cooking class with Alain Ducasse
  • A tour of the Cartier workshop
  • A studio visit with photographer Harri Peccinotti
  • A private show at Crazy Horse
  • Harvesting honey from the bee hives on top of the Paris Opera
  • A private tour of the gardens at Versailles

The trip celebrates a successful year for the agency, which this year has brought on clients such as Banana Republic and Sephora, launched a new Old Navy campaign with Amy Schumer, kicked off partnerships with Jane Goodall, Tom Dixon, and made new hires to support growth. The work-pleasure balance helps with the team’s branding skills, and they have even created a special logo for the trip and designed jean jackets for the whole team, with patches designed in-house by the agency, soon to be for sale.

If all of this sounds like something you will never get to do in your work life, you’re probably right.

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