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You have surely come across this sentence if you’re familiar with the brand Muuto: Muuto comes from the Finnish term muutos which means perspective. But this is not entirely true. According to a number of different academics and several dictionaries, the term muutos means change.
Actually, it doesn’t matter a lot: Muuto was one of the brands which helped to bring New Nordic design, in other words contemporary Scandinavian style, to the attention of an international public. And this was achieved without using designers. How?
Kristian Byrge and Peter Bonnén started Muuto in 2006. Are they designers? No, no. But, they are convinced of two things: 1) it’s time to refresh everyone’s idea of Scandinavian design — everybody remembers Arne Jacobsen and Eero Aarnio’s icons, but we can go one step further — and 2) designers shouldn’t become entrepreneurs.
Before starting Muuto, Byrge and Bonnén had already acquired experience in managing content and marketing. They didn’t want to become experts in interior design, but they did aim to become ideal business partners for the most promising Scandinavian designers and design studios. And this concept worked.
The piece that contributed most to Muuto’s popularity was designed by a promising talent: the e27 light bulb designed by Mattias Stahlbom of Studio TAF.
The simplicity of this piece, made from moulding melted silicone into shape at extremely high temperatures, is perfectly in line with what Byrge and Bonnén wanted Muuto to be:
However, the Muuto e27 wasn’t the brand’s first international success: in 2007 Lars Tornoe designed the Dots coat hangers. Perhaps the name might not mean much to you, but the Muuto Dots are circular wall-mounted coat hangers in different colours that you can assemble as you like. In fact, they were designed to be circular so as not ruin the clothes.
But some products however are the solution to a problem: this is the case of the Muuto Stacked modular storage system. In 2008, Julien de Smedt asked himself: can a piece of furniture be both of general use and answer to specific needs? The Muuto Stacked modular storage system was his answer. With the modularity of this storage system, de Smedt interprets both the mass-production typical of industrial design and the way in which each person can customize Stacked to suit their needs.
However, in 2010 the manufacturing process used for Muuto e27 also inspired Muuto Unfold: a modern take, as well as being pleasant to the touch, on the classic industrial lamp. But what is Form Us With Love? It’s Muuto’s partner: a promising design studio from Stockholm which, two years after designing the Muuto Unfold, was named, by Fast Company, as one of the top 50 design studios with a future which will place it among the most influential practices.
Within little more than ten years from when it was first set up, Muuto has worked in partnership with many current top Scandinavian designers, offering them desirable international exposure: Muuto is sold in 52 different countries.
Simon Key Bertman
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