Studio 7.5 operates with few rules. In fact, there’s just one rule: “Join lunch,” says Carola Zwick, one of the partners of the company, which is based in Berlin. “Lunch is special. It’s eating and chatting and getting everybody on the same page. And that’s every day. It’s really the only structure we have in the office.” When she says that, she’s not exaggerating. Studio 7.5, established in 1992, operates as a completely flat company of one woman and two men without a managerial hierarchy. The three partners make all the decisions in concert, including those on product design. “For us at 7.5,” says Burkhard Schmitz, another partner, “we have redefined design as a team sport.” Aside from the daily lunch, they may spend time apart working on individual projects, yet they remain connected. “Even if we don’t talk to each other,” Schmitz says, “we anticipate what the others will say; I’m always thinking about the others when I’m working at something.” Partner Roland Zwick, Carola’s brother, credits their work relationship to how well they all know each other. “It’s just the blind way we trust each other,” he says. One important ideal they share is attention to the smallest of details, or what they call EMC – every molecule counts. “If you ask specifically for what terms we use,” explained partner Claudia Plikat prior to her death in 2013, “there is one German word: It’s called einfach – simple, but not too simple.” It’s the concept of always being on a mission to boil things down to their essence. “We don’t expect anybody to read instruction manuals.” Case in point is the Mirra Task Chair. Ten years after designing Mirra, the team decided to revisit the chair to see how it could be improved. The final product, reintroduced as Mirra 2, featured upgrades throughout while using 25 percent less material. Studio 7.5 even designed the manufacturing process for Mirra 2 to more closely integrate it with the design, resulting in a spry form that yields to the occupant. “A chair,” Plikat explained, “actually should act like your own shadow: It should be there, it should be supporting you, but it should not bother you. And it should never interfere with your natural way to move.” Mirra 2 is a reflection of Studio 7.5’s mission, which is focused on the workplace. “We’re not making furniture,” Plikat said. “We’re making equipment.” Her spirit is still very much a part of the ethic at Studio 7.5.
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