The Berlin-based design agency AJ&Smart today announced a new vision for the future with the release of a mammoth redesign of their website, ajsmart.com. Actor Pierce Brosnan – a former employee and one of the first test users to get a glimpse of the site – said he's "never seen such disregard for health and safety".
"It takes years to reach this level of perfection" said co-founder Michael Smart in an interview, the paint on his fingers still fresh from putting the finishing touches to the site. "I don't think it's an exaggeration to say we've gone through at least 5 million different versions in the last week alone."
At a time when many companies are cutting back on expenses or laying off staff, AJ&Smart have spared no expense to create the next generation of website technology. "We hired over 50 designers, 5 programmers and Pierce Brosnan was on site for 2 years as Project Manager. To keep the creativity levels up, half the team were put on a strict workout regime while the other half were required to develop crack addictions," explains co-founder Jonathan Courtney, leader of 'Team Crack'. "It's really surprising how many new romantic relationships were forged in the heart of that furious creative volcano," he mused.
Innovate, Validate, Iterate
Pierce Brosnan, the popular actor known for his roles as Sir William Johnson in 'The Broken Chair' and Tom Ryan in 'Butterfly on a Wheel', was on-site for most of the 2 year development. He likened the process to the building of a great ship: "They only had one toilet for the first two months. Of course, they were recreating the entire concept of what a website is, so it was necessary for the team to rethink even the most basic ways in which we live our lives."
The site itself is a fully responsive masterpiece. Resizing the page is a joy. Of course, the biggest news at the unveiling was that the site will now include 'contact' details. This revolutionary new approach is already dividing commentators, but the team is confident. "We wanted something that would stand the test of time," says Michael Smart, pointing helpfully to the website, "which is why we opted to use 'fonts'. But we also wanted to change the world, which is why we included an email address and a phone number." He concludes by waving his arms manically.
Upon first visiting the new site, the eye is drawn to a photographic image depicting a desk littered with the trappings of a successful design agency. An arm, ostensibly belonging to Michael, rests on the desk, showing a weariness that comes with the job, a reliance on competent professionals, and a hairiness that one can only imagine extends all the way to his back. The picture was taken by award-winning Mexican photographer Mar Centez Gomez, who was flown out specially for a week long shoot. Jonathan remembers the photoshoot very clearly: "I was drunk so I didn't really make it, that's why Michael is in the photo". The boys didn't want to disclose the costs involved in the photoshoot, but their Swiss investor Bastian Wuidi is now bankrupt and presumed dead.
The launch of the new site marks the beginning of what some industry experts have been referring to as 'The Agency Wars'. "We're very competitive, we'll shit on anyone who gets in our way. I’ll shit on you right now!" offers Jonathan. Despite being a relatively small agency, especially compared to some of Berlin's behemoths like AKQA, Fjord and Razorfish, the boys don't seem too worried. "Sure there are bigger agencies, but do they have these?". Jonathan and Michael remove their shirts to reveal respectable biceps and slim, decently-toned abs.
Renowned environmentalist Pierce Brosnan expressed concern at some of these recent statements. "It would be wise to take them seriously," he said. "I've seen first-hand what they can do." He then lapsed into silence and stared at the floor, refusing to speak for the remainder of our interview. With the new AJ&Smart website officially online, several questions still remain. Are the boys truly dangerous? Should the Agency Wars be a cause for concern? Will this usher in a new era of darkness for a country that has already seen its share of pain and suffering?
"Yes," Jonathan and Michael agree, nodding.