Muuto's Sophisticated Copenhagen Office is All About Transparency

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By Luke Hopping / Published by Dwell
The Danish design brand's new headquarters blurs the line between office and showroom, inviting visitors to draw inspiration from each.

In 2011, Danish design firm Muuto was in search of a flexible workspace to match its growing operations. The top floors of a former legal office above Copenhagen’s main shopping street met two of the company’s main criteria–a central location with outdoor access–but the building's interiors were dismal and claustrophobic. Cubicles and columns limited visibility, an issue that was exacerbated by a severe lack of lighting. 

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Visitors to Muuto's headquarters are greeted by high-impact graphic wall art and wraparound glass walls. Brandt describes the look as "Scandinavian with a New Yorker twist."

The company sensed potential, though, and, with the help of H+ architects, they transformed the space into an airy showroom and office during a five-month renovation. Glass walls were substituted for opaque barriers, the ceiling was opened up to the roof, and extra light boxes were installed throughout.

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Muuto's full collection is on display in their spacious showroom, where individual environments are dedicated to different rooms of the home. The showroom also functions as a meeting place. "Because the number of employees at Muuto is growing, we sometimes have a lack of meeting rooms," explains project manager Nina Bruun. Impromptu gatherings give visitors an opportunity to see Muuto's collection come alive through organic interactions.

The theme of transparency is more than aesthetic. Visitors to the art- and plant-filled headquarters are encouraged to circulate between the public showroom and back offices to get a sense of how Muuto's collection functions in practice. "When people visit us for inspiration, it’s most inspiring for them to see what happens behind the glass screen of the showroom," says Jesper Brandt, head of contract sales at Muuto. 

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Placing the products in an active environment reveals their potential applications. Stacked shelving systems partition workstations as well as contain books and other household items.

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The space marries usability with refined presentation. Here, an assortment of Mhy, Unfold, and E27 pendant lamps (left to right) hang above Cosy lamps by Harri Koskinen (left) and Leaf lamps by Broberg & Ridderstråle (right).

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The interior design team avoided the temptation to use too many bright colors. The canteen, for example, features three different versions of the NERD chair in Muuto green, even though it is available in eight different colors.

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The subdued color scheme is also evident in the conference room. Floor-to-glass glass walls underscore the company's commitment to transparency, even in the most private spaces. The room is illuminated by grey Studio pendant lamps by Thomas Bernstrand.

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Brandt explains the decision to allow guests to glimpse Muuto's inner workings: "You can see that we are concentrated and producing. It reassures you that we deliver good solutions and come up with a great combination of products."