How MOOOI continues to enhance daily life
“Móóóóóiii!!!” That is what Dutch people tend to shout when they’re really enthusiastic (as they often are). And enthusiasm is typical of the iconic and unconventional Dutch design brand MOOOI, which was founded in 2001 and still carries the sparkling hope of the new millennium, even though this has become seriously challenged by the rather dark spirit of our time. During the last edition of the Salone del Mobile, MOOOI launched the Coppélia chandelier, its latest majestic product.
Robin Bevers took over from co-founder Casper Vissers a year ago. “I had been doing a kind of internship with him, and only after that did we make the switch. At MOOOI we believe in evolution, not revolution.” This may sound surprising for a brand that has been quite revolutionary from the beginning. Indeed, MOOOI has non-conformism in its DNA. “It all started with Marcel Wanders and Casper Vissers wanting to do things differently and create a platform for good design.” In its 15 years of existence, MOOOI has produced work by Dutch and international designers, such as Jurgen Bey, Maarten Baas, Studio Job, Jaime Hayon, Jasper Morrison, Piet Boon, Richard Hutten, Bertjan Pot, in addition to Marcel Wanders. “We are not the kind of company that decides to produce a commercial chair and then contacts the right designer. It’s rather the other way round: they contact us. We look at a lot of sketch books and visit designers in their studio.”
MOOOI has been revolutionary for another reason, too: for its branding and marketing. An ad by MOOOI always looked (and still looks) absolutely fabulous. “At the start, the founders decided they wanted to make you dream, even though the budget in those days was very limited”, Bevers explains. “They worked with Erwin Olaf, an iconic photographer. The result was that magazines just loved the adverts; some even offered their back-cover for free because they liked the images so much.” Both the design products and the storytelling have continued to be uplifting, inspiring, and different.
No wonder MOOOI quickly became successful and attracted the interest of many, including B&B Italia. Thus, in 2006, a high-end design institution bought half the shares of this new kid on the block. “It was good for both parties. MOOOI learned a lot about doing business. And for a long time there was a perfect synergy.” When that decreased, the two decided on a friendly divorce. MOOOI bought back its shares in 2012 and found itself independent again – bigger, more professional, but still non-conformist and enthusiastic. To exclude every doubt, it decided to claim the entire Zona Tortona area at the Salone del Mobile. Yes, apart from its enthusiasm, the Dutch brand is also impregnated with swagger and nerve... At this point, MOOOI produces lighting, seating, accessories, tables, and even complete interiors. “Gradually, we moved into the dining and lounge area, separate from furniture and upholstery; from ‘The Unexpected Welcome’ to ‘A Life Extraordinairy’, says Bevers. MOOOI started to do carpets too, and launched a collection of fabrics under the Rebellious Harmony theme.
Robin Bevers – a MOOOI devotee since day one – is the proud owner of the limited edition Set Up Shades, three floor lamps by Marcel Wanders produced during MOOOI’s first year. And during breakfast he reads his newspaper under MOOOI’s glamorous Valentine Table Lamp, a piece from 2013. “MOOOI objects are so iconic that you want to have them and keep them forever. We touch people’s hearts and minds”, he explains, adding that this increases the sustainable character of the brand. According to Bevers, MOOOI’s Coppélia chandelier is cut from the same cloth and is on its way to becoming an icon. “After its debut in Milan, this has proven to be one of the fastest-selling pieces. Coppélia is majestic but still playful, combining the values of the past with the values of our time. It’s a big object that is still very transparent.” Soon, MOOOI will present a smaller version of the fixture. It has also recently presented the Perch Light, a lamp in the form of a bird that can be combined in various ways – alone or with three together, or as a cluster of 28: it always looks good. “This is going to be the dominant piece in our next catalogue”, Bevers announces. “It’s our next milestone.” This interview leaves us with a blissful smile, and with the idea that everything will be good again…