A Design For Life

Posted on August 18, 2017

Words: Iain Thomson

Cocoon is one of Ibiza’s longest running residencies, celebrating 18 years of Monday night in Amnesia this summer. The celebrated techno party has amassed an army of followers across generations and throughout the world in that time, on the back of a principled approach to hosting a party, an acute understanding of talent and an awareness on what it takes to capture the imagination of its potential audience. One of the most important factors in achieving that is its creative direction, both musically and artistically. The eye catching, colourful flyers, adverts, posters and billboards that teased pre-season and have delivered the latest line-ups ever since come from the experience, talent and imagination of William Worrell and Liz Mendez of WMVisions.

Located in the creative hub that is East London, on the fringe of Shoreditch and Hackney, WMVisions was born in 2016, as two seasoned music industry professionals combined to offer an innovative creative solution that has been snapped up by the likes of Cocoon, Dazed and Confused, MTV, Paradise, Hot Creations, Pacha, Nike, Adidas and Italian Vogue so far. To name just a few. Working alongside the hands-on team at Cocoon, they delivered a colourful concept that re-introduced the use of artists on the flyers for this summer, bringing to life the likes of Sven Väth, Ricardo Villalobos and Nina Kraviz on island billboards. Getting the creative right for a season in Ibiza is a big responsibility but one that WMVisions has knocked out of the park. We caught up with Liz and William to get an insight into what it takes to produce such a high-profile campaign…

Cocoon

Your department sets the tone for the season by coming up with the campaign that will feature on billboards, flyers, posters and magazine campaigns, how much of a responsibility it that?
LIZ – We love the whole creative process of the campaign, Will and I set up our agency WMVISIONS this year so it was a real coup for us to gain Cocoon as our first big client. A lot of thought and time goes into the creative process and sure, it’s a big responsibility, but it’s also a really enjoyable part of the process and i thrive off of it. Cocoon celebrates its 18th birthday this year which is pretty amazing. Their long-standing love affair with Ibiza is something that really sets them apart from all the rest. We wanted to do something fresh this year and to nod towards this great achievement. We wanted to inject more vibrancy and colour into the campaign and this was definitely a considerable factor of our inspiration.  We draw inspiration from everything around us, and it can be taken from all kinds of places from fashion, film, music and the art world.
WILL – It’s a huge amount of responsibility, the tone that gets set visually can make or break a campaign, especially in Ibiza where the visual aspect is so strong with the huge billboards and thousands of posters // flyers that go out weekly, you really have the stage to the world out there. With a brand like Cocoon the stakes are higher than usual as it has such a huge legacy of 18 years where it has been at the forefront of all major trends and it’s a pioneer of the industry. Cocoon already has such a strong aesthetic and a huge die-hard following of loyal party goers that we do not want to disappoint, so we make it our job to innovate and create something they can follow.

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Describe the creative process, how do you get from the bare summer schedule to a complete campaign?
LIZ – It’s a pretty complex process; originally, I started working with Cocoon four years ago designing the costumes with Sarah Qaisar, who has also been with Cocoon a long time. As soon as the season comes to an end we are already thinking about next year’s direction.
Since Will and I secured the art director roles for Cocoon Ibiza & events, there’s a great deal more that we have to consider, but the creative element is always key to setting a strong campaign. What’s important is to really understand the brand and to set the scene of the overall experience, from the reveler’s point of view. Initially we work on mood boards and present ideas to Sven and the team. They are an integral part of this process and Sven always has final say from what we put forward. All our assets for the campaign come from a very important photoshoot with Sven and the girls and from this body of work we are able to make it stretch out throughout all the Ibiza, Formentera and Worldwide events we need to cover over the year. We set colour pallet for each season and a different tone for each section of Cocoon. Once we have worked out and agreed the creative side and got into a flow where everybody is on the same page then it’s a case of implementation and good communication is vital.
WILL – It starts with a lot of energy, like most things that need to stand the test of time, it’s an initial surge of energy and a lot of input from the whole team at Cocoon. As much as it’s a creative strain it also involves hours of research and referencing to get it right.  It can also be a logistical nightmare as we build up to the shoot days/ video days/ models/ Sven/ Flights/ Planes trains and automobiles, Luckily, we get to focus on the creative and the amazing team at Cocoon arrange what we need. Once all that is over it’s a question of time and a lot of editing, once you have all the elements together it’s like a puzzle and you’re up against the clock to ensure you deliver the best possible artwork on time for the events. 

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How many people are involved in the process and what outside factors inspire the ideas?
LIZ – The main creative is set at the beginning with Will and I, alongside the Cocoon team. It’s a small handful of key people that are involved at this stage and as I’ve mentioned there are so many factors that can inspire us. This year we were keen to develop the glitch effect with the brand, but i feel the campaign has evolved way beyond this now. Sven and the dancers are also key to making this work. We styled the girls in the campaign with mirrored outfits designed by Sarah and I, they capture the light impeccably and retain that fierce and futuristic feel that Cocoon embodies. I was also really inspired by the artist Olafur Eliasson for this year’s campaign – his use of mirrors and light for his installations are something I’ve admired for many years. Our collaboration for the actual dancers at the club this year was with the wonderful Jack Irving, we found him at London fashion week and he’s the perfect fit for us and our vision.
WILL – Surprisingly a lot of people are involved in making the Cocoon Campaign work as a whole. It’s a huge campaign, it’s not just the 19 Amnesia dates, its over 70 worldwide tour dates and 14 Formentera dates all involving multiple moving parts, digital and print, from flyers to huge billboards to video and even merchandise. So, naturally, with a campaign this big, there needs to be a lot of people involved. The core creative is handled in our studio in East London and Sven has final say on everything and he is at the core of all major creative decisions. The creative communications between everyone is handled by Johannes Goller and his team in Frankfurt. 

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Ibiza is a fiercely competitive island, do the teams behind the artwork campaign know/ compete with each other. Do you look at how the Cocoon campaign stacks up against others?
LIZ – Yes, we know most of the teams behind the scenes, some are good friends but to be honest, we just go ahead and do our thing, we’ve both had many years of experience in the industry and know how it works. I come from an events/stylist background and curate areas at festivals etc so its all about the aesthetic and Will is highly experienced in photography and design so we make a good team. We also both work with other club nights and brands, for example this summer I also styled the campaigns for Heart- Boogie In Wonderland, designed the costumes for Labyrinth Hot Since 82’s night at Pacha and dressed the Cirque de Soleil girls. Will also works with the 432 Richy Ahmed label, Clive Henry’s new label and Infinity Ink, but it’s Cocoon that really excites us and gives us the opportunity to work together as art directors to create something special. The campaign this year certainly stands out from the rest and we are super proud to be a part of it, it’s a great team effort between us all, from London to Ibiza to Frankfurt.
WILL – Sure there is heat from all the contemporaries and peers on the island.  Mainly it’s to make sure that no one’s campaign is too similar to yours. We all work and party together in the end so there isn’t any bad feeling between us, we respect each other but of course it can be competitive and by competitive i mean its creativity competitive not socially. You just got to keep ahead of the game Our job is to ensure the Cocoon campaign stands out in Ibiza and around the world that it doesn’t get lost or blur into the landscape.

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What does it feel like to see an idea finally become a huge billboard campaign?
LIZ – It’s an amazing feeling to see the campaign come to fruition and sense how strong it is – there’s nothing better than driving past your billboard and seeing the fruits of your labour. The final product of what started as an initial idea and has now blossomed. It’s also great to hear positive feedback to the campaign – it seems to be going down really well and we’ve had many compliments. I can’t wait to get stuck into next year and were already thinking about directions for 2018.
WILL – Honestly, it’s the best thing in the world. I’ve been living / visiting Ibiza since i was a child and cut my teeth in the club world in the early 2000’s, I’ll always remember the Manumission billboards and collecting the posters and flyers. I was very interested about who was behind the artwork and production of these events as it seemed to me they, alongside the DJs and producers, were responsible for a lot of happiness and fun. 

Are you and the team strictly behind the scenes or do you find time to party on the Cocoon dancefloor?
LIZ – I mean it’s pretty strictly business for us now as there is so much to do but of course we like to party too. I’ve been coming to the island since ’99, so many a Summer has been spent on the dancefloor. In fact, the Cocoon after parties have always been a highlight for me over the years (I love a more intimate environment to party!)
WILL – I’ll definitely be on that dancefloor a few times throughout the year but mostly we’re stuck in the studio working out what’s next. 

More information:
w: www.wmvisions.com
w: www.cocoon.net
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October 2017

MON 02 OCT 2017
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  • Cocoon Closing Party@ Amnesia
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May 2017

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September 2017