Why have you gotten rid of the term agency for yourselves and call yourselves »House for Design & Transformation«?
First of all, we have a particular attitude at MUTABOR. We are creators, not handlers or mediators – not agents. We create new solutions.
Designers have always been at home here. And we never talk about »making something pretty.« For us design is much more, it is an attitude of the mind and a holistic process. You could say that design is today the ideal consulting competence.
Many »agencies« are seen as an agency, by definition in a service provider role and have also got on well with it for years. Modern customers demand more. They want partners standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them to help with their transformation. That’s what we are, and that’s how we want to be seen. That’s why the term agency is no longer appropriate for us.
Then why didn’t you just choose the term design consulting? Why »House«?
In 1993, more than 25 years ago, the idea of MUTABOR was born. What was initially founded as a college art magazine MUTABOR later became one of the most influential design agencies in Germany. It was born out of the conviction: change that makes a difference emerges within a team. The Muthesius University in Kiel taught according to the principles of the Werkkunstschule and the Bauhaus. In addition to the theoretical work, the workshop stood at the center, i.e., art making. On campus, we experienced the open exchange between different disciplines – open doors, semi-finished sculptures and clay models of a car design in the corridor, architects and designers in a dispute in the park. Photo exhibitions were created between graffiti exercises on campus. We were convinced that this spirit had to become more than just a juxtaposition: productive coexistence. That’s why we founded the magazine – to create an initial platform for this togetherness. And the magazine later evolved into an agency that unites a wide variety of design disciplines under one roof. And we noticed very early on when we were making the magazine that it was precisely this collaboration of the most diverse characters that produced something new within a small space. If you want to think out of the box, you have to sit in the box with others. Today we have given this idea of productive togetherness a home: our house. Under one roof, always with the team in mind and at heart the will to find a better design solution. Our workshop, our out-of-the-box box. Our digital change machine. That’s why we call it House for Design & Transformation.
Transformation is just a marketing buzzword in the industry. Why are you adopting it?
I’m going to change – the latin translation of our name – has stood for this concept of transformation since its inception – and this is the guiding principle of every single Mutaborian and the team as a whole.
We know: You are never finished – neither as an agency nor as a designer, architect, manager or strategist – not even as a person. Everything is always in beta, new technologies will influence us, new social trends as well. We will all be continually inspired anew. And we believe that only as a team can we and will we shape this everlasting challenge. And it’s great when what we’ve been preaching for over 20 years is now the reality for so many of our customers.