The Interview: Kristian Byrge of Muuto

We speak to Kristian Byrge, founder and creative director of Scandinavian interior brand Muuto, to find out about his principles of design.


The Interview

The Interview: Kristian Byrge of Muuto

With roots firmly in Scandinavian design, the designer collections from Muuto are inspiring, exciting and continuously developing. We speak with the brand’s founder and creative director, Kristian Byrge, to learn more about where this dynamic company began and the design principles behind the signature Muuto style.

The Interview: Kristian Byrge of Muuto

Q: How Did Muuto begin?

A: Muuto was founded back in 2006 by Peter Bonnén and myself, when the company began the offering was accessories and lighting design. We were driven by a desire to add new perspectives and we wanted to set the highest standards, without compromising on quality or design.

Kristian Byrge interview - Muuto Connect Sofa

Q: What are your key inspirations?

A: The Scandinavian tradition of creating long lasting design - both functionally and aesthetically – which focuses on quality and detail orientation is in our genes and provides our foundation for every Muuto product design. We stand on the shoulders of our design history and aim to reinvigorate that heritage by adding a new chapter - this is what we term as New Nordic. Scandinavia’s long winters and few hours of sunlight has also inspired us to create a bright, soft and colorful collections.

Our designers are constantly being challenged to find new perspectives in the objects they design. As they interact with the world around them and the changing trends they encounter, these will undoubtedly affect new perspectives.

Kristian Byrge interview - Muuto Nerd Chair

Q: What is the key to Muuto’s success?

A: At Muuto, we are extremely passionate about what we do. We are honest and produce pieces that add value to people’s environments - we take this very seriously.

Q: Danish design is famous all over the world, how does traditional Danish design influence Muuto products?

A: Scandinavian design has seen its renaissance, with New Nordic design being exceptionally popular at the moment. While the countries of Scandinavia have great differences, they do have some common cultural and historical threads that apply to and shine through in design from this region. Scandinavian design is characterised by being highly functional and fairly minimalist with clean simple lines whilst talking directly to the needs of its consumers. Design from Scandinavia is often referred to as ‘democratic design’, because of its aim to appeal to the masses through products that are accessible and affordable. Even though the original Scandinavian designs were meant for the masses, the beauty of each object was still in focus.

Kristian Byrge interview - Muuto collection

Q: Many different designers work with Muuto - How do you maintain the brand identity with so many contributing designers?

A: Muuto’s New Nordic approach is essentially about building on our design heritage and combining it with a forward thinking ambition of adding new perspectives by working with new materials, new techniques, new ideas, conceptual thinking and the best contemporary designers.

Kristian Byrge interview - Muuto study

Q: Is there a particular Muuto design that you love most?

A: I can honestly say I am fond of every product Muuto has produced – otherwise they wouldn’t have ended up for sale!

One piece I am particularly pleased with though is our Fiber chair family. The complete concept of Fiber included finding an innovative new bio-composite material that would give the chair a surprising ‘fibre’ like texture in contrast to its shell shape. The process was a challenging one, which we solved with great collaboration from our Muuto team, the material suppliers and the chair’s designers, Iskos-Berlin.

Q: What do you think makes a good design?

A: A good design is equally balanced between functionality, craftsmanship, simple aesthetics, quality and an inviting approach - and of course developed with a new perspective in mind.

Shop Muuto collection - Nerd chairs