Meet the Makers: Muuto’s Design Director, Christian Grosen
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 Design Director, Christian Grosen 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?
Our name, Muuto, originates from the word muutos, meaning “new perspective” in Finnish. As such, we seek to bring new perspectives to the iconic heritage of Scandinavian design, interpreting the values of enduring aesthetics, functionality, craftsmanship and an honest expression with the best of today’s designer, using forward-looking materials, technique and bold creative thinking throughout the process.
So, what makes for good lighting—is there more to it than simply illuminating an area?
I think you can divide lighting into three different parameters: functionality, aesthetics and poetry. Ideally, these eventually melt together in a single design but as a designer, you have to consider them separately to ensure a complete design that is well-rounded in each of the three aspects, making them come together in harmony.
What is the Muuto design process like when it comes to lighting?
We work with an extensive number of external designers from across the world, designers whom we believe can create new perspectives and interesting interpretations of our Scandinavian design values. We brief the designers which marks the starting point of a very close dialogue between Muuto’s in-house design and product development team and the given designer.
And then how does something go from an idea to a design to an actual product?
It’s a process that takes something in the realm of 24 months, depending on the complexity of the design. We spend a lot of time working with various iterations, exchanging ideas and thoughts with the designer and creating multiple prototypes, testing them along the way. Something that we do very early in the process is to initiate the dialogue with our suppliers, allowing for us to understand their skillset and capabilities as well as hearing their input to ensure that we create a design that is premium quality at an affordable price-point.
Do you have a favorite design or design process story?
Our Beam Lamp by emerging Canadian designer Tom Chung is a design that I think truly embodies our design values at Muuto. It is playful, inventive and modernly functional, made in premium quality at an affordable price. Seen from a functional perspective, the Beam Lamp is incredibly functional—it shines light from both ends of a cylinder shape with the user being able to select three different volumes of light and gradually alter the volume of light through the playful turn of its dial. It can be used as a floor lamp, positioned to illuminate a wall, an artwork or a plant, as a decorative lamp on a shelf, in a windowsill or as a desk lamp in your home office.
And what can we look forward to from Muuto lighting in the coming year or so?
We have some very exciting new products in the pipeline. Our approach to our collection of lighting is two-fold: creating product families around some of our existing designs, in turn bringing new perspectives to them, and creating completely new products with the best of today’s designers, making way for new perspectives on the ideas of functionality, aesthetics and poetry.
Team Y is a dedicated group of design devotees. We love everything that has to do with modern design, from products like lighting, furniture and decor all the way to interior design, architecture and city planning. What inspired the design? How does it work? What does it mean? We want to know. And once we know, we are constantly inspired to share what we've discovered with others who love design as well. That's Y.