my creative life
Mark Whelan shares the places he frequents for a dose of inspiration
The Havas chairman and chief creative officer reveals the sites that keep his creativity ticking over
09 March 2023
My Inspiration comes from people not introspection. The best place to gather inspirational people is a salon. A Creative Salon if you will. Here are mine:
Eatery: The Bluebelles Café Portobello Salon
A small, unprepossessing exterior, the glass occasionally shattered by an illogical brick, belies what lies within. A warm, comforting interior, nfused with the beckoning scent of vegan sausage. It is here you will find me of a Friday AM, table two, the one with the fruit flies. Inspirational guests are invited on strict rotation, emanating from the fields of art, music, television, clay therapy and a fella who once lent my daughter a magic marker and turned out to own a skate label. I listen, I glean, I nick, I reform, I repurpose. On rare occasion, an original thought is born and from here, in cupped hands I carry the precious creature to…
Coffee shop: The HKX Café of Kings Cross Salon
The beating heart of the Havas HQ,. if you haven’t been, be my guest (literally). Its buzzing, its banging. Inspiration arrives in the form of an Americano fuelled V Maguire Esquire (Havas London), the mischief-maker-in-chief Kat Thomas (One Green Bean), techno-lolz courtesy of Stu Peddie (Havas Helia) or any of the other 1400 Havas folks that I like to sit and break croissant with. Though not all at the same time.
Nail Salon: The Coco Nail Club
Like many a post-prime executive, I suffer at the cruel hand of cracked heels. It is here, as the artisans work their wizardry with a Makita 18V Grinder, that I seek the company of the genii who gift their greatness on Spotify, at £9.99 month or £14.99 for six people on the same account. Here I commune with Inflo the enigma of Sault, the be-masked poet prophet Cass Is Dead, Richard Russell the sonic architect of Everything is Recorded (find my woeful voice acting on his audio book) and Ryan Hope, who so thoughfully gives us Gabriels in between making adverts. And Little Simz, so big, so, so mighty.