”I wanted to find a way to combine my business side and my creative side.” In Design Stories’ interview, Peter Bonnén talks about his career from the time before Muuto to his current job at Nuori, a cosmetic brand founded by his wife Jasmi Bonnén.
DANISH-BORN PETER BONNÉN has played quite a significant role in the story of 21st-century Scandinavian design. Founded in 2006 in Copenhagen by Peter and Kristian Byrge, Muuto is a brand that has become known around the world as a reinterpreter of Nordic design traditions and pioneer of fresh, refined Scandi aesthetics.
When Peter and Kristian sold Muuto to the American design company Knoll in 2018, Peter got the opportunity to reflect on the next step in his career. The new job was finally found surprisingly close: Peter joined the cosmetics company Nuori, founded by his wife Jasmi Bonnén in 2015. The Nuori products are based on the combination of the freshest possible ingredients and a refined, minimalist style.
Peter brought with him to Nuori – quite naturally – a passion and knowledge of high-quality design. This resulted in Nuori’s latest collection, a line of beauty accessories consisting of hand-made combs and beauty cases made of vegan leather. The timeless luxury collection was designed by creative agency NR2154 based in New York and Copenhagen.
Hi Peter, how have you been doing recently?
“I have been doing great, and I’m very excited that we have just launched our new accessories line. We have worked on the collection for almost two years, so it feels good to finally see the ideas come to life. And they look and feel so good!”
Can you tell us about the path that led you to the world of design?
“I grew up in an artist family – my father, uncle, aunt and brother are all artists. I got a Masters in Economics and started working at McKinsey, an American management consultancy, which was almost the complete opposite of what was expected in my family. But I am glad that I went that way because I met Jasmi at McKinsey!
Still, I realized that I could not only be a businessman. I missed art, architecture and design. I wanted to find a way to combine my business side and my creative side.”
A couple of years back, you sold Muuto for the American company Knoll. How was this decision made?
“Kristian and I always knew that we wanted to sell Muuto one day. So it was really about finding the right home for Muuto. Knoll has, like Muuto, a super dedicated focus on design and quality and they have shown for decades that they can deliver on their promise. So among a lot of interested buyers from around the world, we felt that Knoll would be the perfect partner.”
After Muuto, you joined the cosmetics brand Nuori which was founded by your wife Jasmi. What is your role in the company and how has your professional partnership worked?
“Jasmi founded the company and is the CEO. I am helping out where I can. For a long time, I was just 'Peter – the intern'. But now we have a new intern called Peter, so we need to come up with a new title for me.
Jasmi and I have separate responsibilities, for example, Jasmi has a deep knowledge of ingredients, formulations and the newest research – so I keep out of this 100%. And since Jasmi is the CEO, she has the final say in everything, so that makes it pretty easy.”
Nuori recently launched a line of accessories designed by the creative agency NR2154. How would you characterize the outcome?
“The Nuori accessories line adds ease and beauty to daily grooming and travel routines. Scandinavian design is characterized by impeccable craftsmanship, attention to detail, and the intertwined correlation between simplicity and functionality. The goal was to create a line of luxury beauty accessories that will keep on looking and feeling fresh, and I think we have succeeded.”
“The Nuori accessories line adds ease and beauty to daily grooming and travel routines.”
Jasmi has a Finnish background, and Nuori is a Finnish word for ”young”. What’s the role of Finland in your life?
“Yes, Jasmi is 100% Finnish, so it was very natural for her to choose a Finnish word for the company. Our two sons have Finnish names and we are often in Finland to see family and friends.”
Your current home is in New York. How did you end up living there?
“We love Finland, we love Copenhagen and we love New York. And we love the idea of getting new experiences and inspiration – so it felt right to try to live in New York.”
And last, looking to the future, what kind of projects do you dream of working on?
“I truly believe that we have superior products at Nuori – and it is actually not just a belief, it is a proven fact that the ingredients in our skincare products are more efficient. I really want to make sure that people get a chance to try our products. That is what is driving me right now."
Text: Nora Uotila Images: Nuori and Ryan Plett