MUT design free-thinking perspective.
Comprised of a multidisciplinary team of designers based in Valencia, Spain, MUT design studio takes on product design, graphic design, and art direction with the same free-thinking perspective that allows our daily experiences to be perceived in a new light.
Founded in 2010, the team has embraced the same goal for the past decade: to reimagine everyday objects in new contexts that ultimately capture the essence of universal human experiences.
For example, take their conceptual Roll Chair for Sancal released last year, inspired by your average gym equipment, available in different shades of leather. One more important lesson in design, recognizing the power of adaptation of this versatile material.
No matter the nature of project, emotive design and unconventional thinking stay at the forefront of their practice. We chatted with the MUT Team on their studio philosophy that allows for thought-provoking, universally relatable creations. Scroll down to read.
In your words, what defines the power of design and its capability to alter perspectives?
Design is a powerful tool to change the world, improve people's lives, communicate even if we don't speak the same language. Design is a means of approaching the world; it helps us interact with our environment and experience it in a certain way. Every little thing in our ordinary life has something to do with design: from the pan where we cook our eggs for breakfast to how we lay them on the plate. We design as we live and we live as we design — and of course, we, as designers, express ourselves through it. For us it is a way to communicate who we are, what we think, how we want to make a better world through our creations, how we embrace life through it. It is a universal language and we love how easy it is to connect with other people from different cultures in distant places thanks to design.
Many of your projects leverage the mundane to reinvent something uniquely expressive and functional ― how do you identify innovative possibilities from average objects?
It has to do a lot with imagination. When we approach a common object, we try to imagine all the possibilities within — almost like a game.
For instance, our Grill collection for Diabla was inspired by barbecue grills. We looked at the grill and imagined it could be turned into something totally different, like a chair. It was the same with Aspa table for Pulpo, we drew inspired in the blades of the wind mills.
Of course, each industrial process will set limits to the original idea, but this is how our design process works.
With the ROLL CHAIR, we can see that the Studio focuses on working with all possibilities. It'd not have crossed your mind to imagine that gym equipment would become such an authentic leather design, with totally reinterpreted use. But MUT designers see what we don't see.
What goes into creating something that re-signifies the common and innovates new solutions, and what role does material play?
As we said before, it is the way we understand the design process: we draw inspiration from common objects and put a lot of imagination to offer the most innovative solution.
Regarding the material, it is very important for us indeed. We really love high-quality materials that are as natural as possible: glass, wood, rattan, leather, clay... We are always happy to work with fine materials, we feel comfortable having them around.
Working with versatile and durable materials is really a relief for creativity. As mentioned by MUT, making designs with leather is comfortable and allows for a lot of freedom.
It's possible to create without finding extreme difficulties with the format since the material is extremely adaptable. If there is deadstock, it can be reused. And for those who choose the piece, there's confidence in the credibility of the leather, durability, and maintenance without great effort. Everyone wins.
MUT claims expertise in a variety of creative fields beyond furniture, from graphic design to art direction. How do you navigate between these fields and what stays consistent in the creative process?
We always take the same steps when we are faced with a new project, no matter the field. Our method remains constant, that way our personality always shows. We think it is easy to identify our works because some things never change, like our taste for curvilinear shapes or our love for natural materials. We always try to keep it simple, clean, honest, beautiful, playful, and of course, useful. All those adjectives apply to any of our designs. Invariably.
Since examining function is a key element of your process, what’s the significance of choosing a high-quality material like leather in your projects?
Of course, we enjoy working with quality materials but it is also fundamental to find a good manufacturer. For us, it is important to work with someone who really knows how to treat the material, who has the expertise. We feel comfortable working with any kind of material, from leather to terracotta.
"TAKE THE MOST HUMBLE MATERIAL AND TREAT IT RIGHT, AND YOU CAN ELEVATE IT TO A LUXURY GOOD."
Beyond changing your audience’s perspective of everyday objects, is there an overall impact that MUT seeks to make with their body of work? What difference are you trying to make in the industry?
We want people to be capable of easily identifying our products and projects. All our creations have a little bit of us — if people can see through them and recognize us within, we can say that design was a success. When we work on a project, we always try to convey a thought or a feeling — we try to provoke an emotion, to evoke a sensation or a pleasant souvenir. That's the difference, the impact we pursue with our work.
What elements of your work give the design the power to evoke emotion?
To begin with, the sentiment we pour into every piece. We put a lot of soul into all our projects and this inevitably shows through. Our designs are simple and they speak about situations most of us have lived, about landscapes most of us have seen, about objects most of us have used, about basic emotions we all experience on a daily basis. They evoke moments we share as humans beings and this is a very effective way of touching other people's feelings and connect with them.
Catch us imagining everything around us as a dope design from now on.
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