People + Places

Meet the Makers: Muuto

Founded just over a decade ago, Muuto has quickly become a leader in Scandinavian lighting with their forward-looking designs, cutting-edge use of mixed materials and the latest technology. From a pendant made of pliable silicone, to a leaf-like table lamp, Muuto continues to innovate lighting.

We talked to Muuto’s Chief Product Officer Sebastian Rybel Eiberg Böhmer about the meaning behind the brand’s name, the design process and what’s next for this exciting Scandinavian brand.

Muuto is such a fun word to say. Does it have a meaning or translation?

It comes from the Finnish word muutos, meaning “change,” or creating a new perspective. Drawing on our Scandinavian roots, we focus on functional, well-crafted pieces with enduring aesthetics. Before we introduce a new Muuto design, we want to make sure it adds a new perspective. So strong heritage in a modern context—somehow improving or challenging what came before.

So, what makes for good lighting—is there more to it than simply illuminating an area?

Designing good lighting is about more than just function. Good lighting creates a mood or evokes a feeling even when it’s not in use. Objects influence our impression of a space and how we inhabit it. Good design, whether it’s furniture or lighting, should challenge our senses and make us reflect on how our surroundings make us feel.

Of course function is also important for good lighting. Whether it’s a grand pendant directly over a dining table, or a small table lamp giving ambient light in your home office, the light reflected from the design helps set the mood of a space. For dining and socializing, or a more focused atmosphere for working, or a relaxed sense of wellbeing.

What is the Muuto design process like when it comes to lighting?

We handpick leading contemporary designers to work in close collaboration with the Muuto creative team. Designers with a contemporary take on tradition, who embrace the essence of Scandinavian design. Who are keen on exploring a forward-thinking approach to natural materials, comfort, craftsmanship and durability.

And then how does something go from an idea to a design to an actual product?

It’s a long process. Going from the seed of the idea to launch can take years. From sketching to finding the perfect materials. And of course there are always unknowns in the production process. Making sure we bring something durable to market that will last for generations can’t be done in a couple months. It’s a long process involving many skilled experts along the way.

Do you have a favorite design or design process story?

Mattias Ståhlbom’s E27 Pendant Lamp. That’s a classic example of a Muuto design coming to life. He explains it best: “The design came to be in a stage of my life where I’d been moving around a lot to different apartments; mostly empty ones. However, they were never truly empty— there was always a naked, pure light bulb that shone a pragmatic light into the room. There was something humbling and romantic about it; everything being empty and undone in a positive way. I wanted to translate those emotions into a more structured and permanent setting.”

The silicone rubber socket is a unique element of the E27 Pendant. The whole design references electrical equipment and really brings a new perspective to the naked bulb. While exploring various materials in the design process, we loved how the soft rubber socket made an interesting contrast with the hard glass of the bulb and gave the design a simple, modern expression.

The E27 lamp has been a modern classic for 13 years now.

Any new releases you’d like to tell us about?

One of our more recent new designs is the Stand Pendant Lamp Series by Benjamin Hubert. It’s designed with these soft, playful forms that provide both diffused and direct lighting (through its top and bottom opening). The material—it’s sort of a sprayed cocoon with myriad tiny strands—makes for a complex structure. Paired with the very modern form, it gives the Strand Pendant Lamp an almost cloud-like appearance. The cocoon exudes a warm, comfortable glow and the lamp seems to hover lightly in space, bringing comfort, harmony and a refined sensitivity to any room.

And what can we look forward to from Muuto lighting in the coming year or so?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Our team is really passionate and filled with creativity. As long as there’s an appetite for challenging the status quo, we’ll be out on our mission of creating new perspectives.

 

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