A Color Story
With an especially keen eye for distinctive colors and unique materials, the design team at Muuto finds inspiration everywhere—and much of it starts with a flawlessly curated Instagram chronicle.
Written by Sarah Chappell
With offices tucked away in vibrant Copenhagen, the Muuto design team can't help but be inspired by the urban and natural landscape that has become synonymous with Nordic design. Although relatively new on the scene of Scandinavian design, the brand clearly has its finger on the pulse of good design that is at once on-trend and timeless. Muuto has an especially keen sense of color and material, and we got to wondering where that brilliance comes from.
This led us to Nina Bruun, Muuto’s project manager with an impressive resume—including a master’s degree in furniture and spatial design from the Royal Academy of Design. She has said that she “can’t move through the city without being inspired,” and that sentiment is undeniably present in Muuto’s refined and subtle color palette.
“I have a very strategic approach to my work with colors. I try to forecast two to three years ahead.”
But more importantly, Bruun is a self-proclaimed designer, colorist and trendspotter—who also happens to have a flawlessly curated Instagram account. "I gather my information mainly with photos," Bruun says. "Instagram plays a big role in my research—I both love to see what inspires others and share what inspires me." Once we stumbled across her public portfolio of pictures and travels, we discovered how her own visual language influences Muuto's lighting and furniture designs.
The beauty of Muuto’s color schemes and how they play with shapes and materials have us hooked, so we recently caught up with Nina to find out what inspires her and the Muuto design team on a daily basis. “Many people characterize Muuto through our colors,” Bruun says. “When developing our color palette I have to trust my gut feeling more than anything else. We don’t work with trend forecast agencies, but I take pride in developing our own color universe.”
Sure enough, you can see Muuto’s unique color story through Bruun’s own eyes. Here’s a closer look:
Taken on her recent trip to India, the terracotta color of this infinite corridor pairs perfectly with the dusty red color of Muuto’s Grain Pendant. This color makes many appearances in Muuto's collection, as well as throughout Bruun's recent posts. Even though this natural pigment has been used for centuries, Muuto makes this burned tone relevant by mixing it with innovative materials: the recycled fibers of the pendant soften it just as the aged walls do through this passageway.
This metro tunnel in Malmö, Sweden, has a steely color range that invigorates what we consider grayscale. Muuto’s Unfold Pendants achieve a similar look with a subtle blend of green-gray and light gray. “The history of Scandinavian design plays a big role in the department of design and product development at Muuto. We always turn to great creators of Scandinavian design when in search for inspiration, not only for colors but also materials and design,” Nina said. “You will not always see the direct references, but we can’t deny the design heritage.”
Earth tones and yellows are prominently featured in many products in Muuto’s lighting and furniture collections. This shade of ochre particularly pops with the Rest Sofa, complementing the autumnal landscape above.
Nina says the Muuto color palette consists of about 30-35 colors and gets a full update each year. “I have a very strategic approach to my work with colors,” Nina said. “I try to forecast two to three years ahead, and with the help of the international fashion weeks and their shows. I try to decode the different fashion tendencies and translate them into my field.” Nina said she creates big mood boards from fashion images and uses it to help her choose colors that “are a natural extension and development of our existing color palette.”
Dome of Silence
Visually stunning side by side but different in their relationship to sound, the Under the Bell Pendant has strong parallels to this swirling staircase in Iceland—taken when Bruun was attending DesignMarch earlier in the year. You can imagine that any sound would echo throughout the towering space, while in comparison, the Under the Bell is specifically designed to control acoustics with its soft felt shade. Even the rippling pattern mirrors the vertical struts of the handrail.