“The element of company creativity is a natural starting point for me“

Petra Seebauer and Juliane Wernhard

After working for more than 20 years as a product and set designer and as a freelance artist, creative director and founder Petra Seebauer took the courageous step of founding MOVIS in 2015. A design workshop, the project combines her life experiences, her interests and her passions. We spoke about what led her to take this step and why she believes the role played by small workshops is vital and indispensable for Europe’s identity.

Juliane Wernhard: I can still perfectly remember our first encounter. I quickly got excited when it became clear that we were both interested in corporate responsibility and the role of workshops in the European context.

Petra Seebauer: It is an issue that is very important to me. Industrial production has created a situation where the broad palette of products all resemble each other. That means that individual products lose profile. The things we surround ourselves with are part of our culture. The preservation of cultural diversity is an important element of societal and personal identification.

“The notion of uniformity infuriates me”

JW: Do you also have the feeling that the desire for handmade and unique products is becoming increasingly important? In my social circle, I have certainly noticed that an awareness of sustainable consumption has risen dramatically in recent years.

PS: I also think we are in the middle of a shift in perceptions. Not just in the private sphere, but particularly in the corporate context. Recently, for example, the manager of a DAX-listed company told me that trainees at many sites had left because they didn’t like the work atmosphere and the corporate philosophy. Ten years ago, the personnel department would have laughed at such a thing because there was a shortage of traineeships. But today, luckily, the name is no longer the only thing, but also the question: “Who am I and is this company a good fit for me?“

JW: I have to admit that it wasn’t immediately clear to me the degree to which a wall installation could help me realize whether a company is a fit for me or not. And that the important thing for you is the artistic implementation of corporate vision and philosophy.

“Creativity also means the optimization of processes”

 PS: That’s a perfect way of putting it. If I am prepared to invest in the well-being of my employees, it is reflected in their positive approach to their jobs. I have been communicating this message to my business partners for some time now, but it has been difficult to convince them that a budget must be provided for it. That is now changing! But first, I really had to get them to listen so I could explain that creativity also means the optimization of processes.

JW: After two decades as a freelance designer and artist, you had the courage to start your own company. Was it a difficult step to take on all the responsibility that comes with it?

PS: You could say that. But I needed to take the step to implement my convictions in the real world. Combining art and design with an acoustic purpose is a fascinating idea that has long occupied me.

“With MOVIS, I am making a conscious statement”

With MOVIS, I am making a conscious statement. I want to make it possible for people to outfit their spaces with unique, beautiful works of art while improving acoustics at the same time. To that end, I plan to deepen my cooperation with researchers to further improve the installations’ acoustic effects.

And I will continue to work with creative partner companies on the development of interesting, modular products made of innovative materials. I am looking forward to the experiences awaiting me with my partners and customers and am pleased my team and I can contribute to the improvement of work spaces. Those are the challenges that drive me and the adventure that lies ahead.

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