After receiving her master’s degree in furniture and spatial design from the Royal Danish Academy of Design, Copenhagen-based designer Nina Bruun had joined revered Danish brand Muuto. Besides her successful career at a renowned company, she managed to keep her personal brand thriving. Straddling the worlds of art and design, she eventually went freelance and now runs her own business. In an exclusive interview for Nordic Style Magazine, Ninna talks candidly about her new business, personal development and where design industry is going next.
Could you tell our readers a little bit about your time at Muuto. What was your role and what were the most rewarding aspects of your job?
I worked at Muuto for four years as Project – and Design Manager. So basically I worked with trends, materials, and colors and at the same time, I was responsible for working with designers on different projects. On top of this, I curated the collections; making sure they were integrated, deciding what was made and making sure the colors were all right etc.
The most rewarding aspects have been to work with some of the most talented people within Muuto, but also the external people I’ve met. And then just being surrounded by the things I love you know – working with colors and materials.
What motivated you to start your own business? What steps did you take to get things going in the beginning?
What really motivated me to start my own business was the lack of challenges at Muuto towards the end. I felt like I had so much more to give. The job was one thing, but I felt like my expertise stretched even wider. So I wanted to try something new and decided to be my own boss. Also, I made sure to be super prepared before starting my own business. I spoke to a lot of relevant people and had some consultant contracts defined so I could pay my bills. I had meetings with a business coach, financial advisers, and an auditor because it’s really important for my creativity to have that economic security. I want to do things right.
What do you love about running your own business?
The thing I love the most about running my own business is first of all the fact that I’m closer to decisions. In bigger corporations, it’s easy to get distant from the decisions. I love to be the one who operates things and I really like the variety of working with different kinds of people and corporations.
How do you keep yourself motivated when you feel a little lethargic or feeling like you’re not getting a lot done?
Well, I do several things to stay motivated during the day. First of all, I like to read a great book. I work by the motto: Get shit done, which doesn’t mean that my tasks are shit at all, but there’s a certain energy in the motto that really helps me. And thirdly I structure my day – every day. It’s a lot easier for me to be effective when I structure my day, you know.
Transitions are never easy. What were the biggest challenges you faced?
There is no doubt that my biggest challenge is myself. I’m kind of my own worst enemy in that way. I have this great network and reputation, but I’m a perfectionist and I find it hard to stop working. So it’s all about finding a balance to make it work.
The design industry is rapidly evolving reflecting changes in modern society. In response to digital revolution and urbanization, for example, we have witnessed a boom of foldable, lightweight, easy to assemble furniture. What are your thoughts on where design industry is heading?
Oh, that’s an extremely difficult question to answer as design gradually plays a role in so many industries that points in different directions. I hope that design will help to create a better world and better consumer habits. Hopefully, we will reduce the need for buying so many things and instead buy fewer things but in better quality. Also, I believe in recycling – as long as it makes sense for the environment.
In one interview, you mentioned that you were addicted to taking pictures. With 24k followers on Instagram, you’re probably one of the most followed industry insiders in Denmark. How important is Instagram as a business tool in your career? How did you reach such an impressive number of followers?
Instagram is very important as a business tool but it’s only a business tool if you know what I mean. I’ve tried to distance my private life from my account and instead be professional in a personal way. I really want to give my followers something special and it connects me with so many people doing so. It has partially led me to where I am today. So I try to keep a balance between being professional and personal, and at the same time understanding the reaction patterns of my followers. The only strategic thing I’ve done is to post a (great) picture every day.
Finally, it would be a sin to let you go without asking something about trends. What’s your take on what’s coming next?
I think we will see a lot of projects that will occur based on the problems we are facing right now like plastic in the oceans, trash in nature and thinking about how we can save the world using waste. Sometimes it takes more to recycle than to throw away, so that should definitely be considered as well. Hopefully, we’ll be aware whether it’s the right thing to do in the given situation.
In addition to this, Scandinavia has been so minimalistic when it comes to colors and interior designs. Now we see trends related to the southern Europe and Africa, bringing more color and personality in the way we decorate our homes. Optimistically these trends will continue to grow, so we can become even more personal in our decor. People should adapt and embrace their personalities in the decor and grow themselves without being navel-gazing, of course.
Photos: Ninabruun.com, @nina_bruun
Tags: freelance, muuto, Nina Bruun
Passionate about spatial design. I work with words, photos, design and social media. Currently based in London.
I spend most of my spare time drooling over other people’s talents and trying to create things that show off my own.
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