Each was asked to consider what 15 meant to them. Did they have a favourite 15? If so, why? Where? Was being 15 the year of their undoing, or the start of something great? The result was a collection of images and stories that were illuminating, educational, surprising and endearing. Some chose to approach the brief differently. Some chose to flout it entirely. But that was OK! It was an exercise in learning just a little bit more about each other and what makes us all tick. We spend so much of our time sitting next to one another, with our noses in our devices, it was nice to sit back and take stock. To learn something new. To venture into someone else's world for a moment. To reconnect.
We hope you enjoy this small selection.
Richard Parker, Project Manager
It was 1990, I was 15 and I was on my school's rugby tour of Canada and the USA. With exams a distant memory and sponsorship money raised, the excitement was at fever pitch at the thought of hitting foreign soil with 30 of my best mates! What could possibly go wrong? As we all know young boys on mass occasionally do stupid things, and it didn't take long for that principle to be tested. Despite booking us into a women's youth hostel (?!) to dampen our spirits, and one with a zero alcohol policy, we resourcefully produced both beer – and for some reason – hair clippers. Within minutes I was branded like a farmyard animal. As number 15 in the squad, it was emblazoned on to my scalp for many weeks to come. A good look, I'm sure you'll agree!
Helena Reimann, Finance Manager
While studying in Czechoslovakia, I did a degree in the Conservation & Restoration of Decorative Objects. A big part of it was to understand the old techniques used to decorate objects in the period from 1620 to 1880. They tasked us with an assignment to recreate these techniques in the workshop on small MDF boards. Here you can see one of my boards on which I used a technique called Japanning. It involves layers and layers of thin coats of lacquer – 15 in this case – being applied one on top of the other to create a hard and shiny service. The whole process takes about a month as the layers have to dry really hard. It almost drove me insane but I loved doing it and it was so worth the end result. I actually ended up winning an award that year for my work.
Gideon Wilkinson, Co-founder and Managing Director
My favourite 15 has to be my son. He turns 15 years old on the 15th of the month. He’s cooler than I was. Better looking than I ever was. What else is there to say?
Maurice Acton, 3D/Innovation Team Leader
The number 15 embodies three of my interests: numbers, old signs and quality craftsmanship. What first caught my attention with this sign was the quality of the design and its integrity. On closer inspection though – and knowing that 15 is the smallest number that can be factorised using Shors quantum algorithm – I looked at all three numbers and realised immediately that the summation was 51 which, when the numbers are reversed, brings it back to 15. Curious! Its design, elegance and quality of craftsmanship combined with its interesting numerical relationship with 15 make it special.
Jackie Hawkins, Marketing and Brand Manager
I drove from Cairo to Cape Town in an old Mercedes Benz truck in 2009. Each one of these photographs represents one of the 15 countries I travelled through en route: Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Angola (although not officially!), Namibia and South Africa.
Graeme Crow, Client Manager
Bath times with my little boy are very special. I try and get home on time to join the nightly bathing debacle. At the moment, my best attempt at flannel distraction is teach him to recognise numbers.
Its work in progress.