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- Graphic Design , Interview

Temporary office: Swap Florence for Vilnius

The complexity and density of the internet allows, that in almost any situation you could find an exchange partner for whatever you have to offer. Especially in the real estate market, the variety of options is very detailed - whether you look for low-cost vacation possibilities, want to avoid a broker when searching for a new flat, or try to plan a pop-up space as a retailer.

Plus, as Andstudio from Vilnius and Muttnik from Florence proposed, you can even swap your office for a while. This temporary adventure not only brings new ideas and professional challenges with it, but also relaxes the agency's everyday life and provides new inspiration. Touring across Europe together to work in a completely different setting for a while – that’s an exciting adventure to undertake. It certainly shines a new light on even the daily coffee shop situtation, collaborations with local designers and a few after-work beers.

© Andstudio

The two design studios in Lithuania and Italy have experienced a great time in each other's home countries.  Augustinas Paukste, one of the initiators of the project and partner of Andstudio, shared some of the take-aways from the two exhilarating weeks in Florence, enthusing over good wine and coffee, but mostly about new collaborations and encounters with the community.

What did you learn from the Florence way of living?

Feeling like a local, not a tourist, was one of the best experiences while in Florence. Little by little, you find your favorites: a bar you frequent, coffee you drink, paths you take. Without even noticing it, you internalize the local ways of doing things. For example, one has to rush while moving around the city, but unwind and loosen up during dinner. At the same time, you learn to stay inside during midday hours, yet plan for long evenings in the city.

© Andstudio

In what ways the environment of Florence influenced your work experience? 

In a sense, the final result of any project is directly affected by the environment around the working process. When in Florence, our days were shaped by morning coffee rituals, bike rides through the carousel-like streets of the city, evening museum visits, countless parks, and moments of drinking wine while sitting on a street curb. All the living experiences directly affect us both on personal and creative levels. It is still early to say what form will the experiences of the exchange take, yet we are sure it will be beneficial.

Is there anything in particular you were eager to take home with you?

Days into the exchange, you realize there is no way of bringing home everything you’d like to. Things are the way they are because they come from distinct environments. You can stuff your suitcase with prosciutto and artisan coffee all you want, but there is only so much one can carry. The most important experiences can only be transferred within ourselves: heaps of motivation, newly-met people, and the inspiration created by the majestic city of Florence.

© Andstudio

Could you compare your workplace in Vilnius with the one you resided at while in Florence?

The location and the general feel of the studio plays a huge role in shaping the whole exchange experience. In this case, the environments of both studios couldn’t be more different. Our studio is located on a riverbank in a forest just outside the city centre. There, one can enjoy the morning mist rising from the river, afternoon coolness under the forest canopy, and endless bird songs. The inside of the studio is filled with the scent of wood, and the sun is illuminating the space through the big windows. Muttnik’s studio is the opposite: right in the bustling centre of Florence, we were greeted by a pleasantly dark, yet really cozy, creative space. Forest sounds were replaced by touristy streets full of chatter and buzzing indoor fans fighting the sizzling heat. Oh, and the smell of coffee! Florence is full of it, wherever you turn. However, the worlds of Andstudio and Muttnik are incomparable. Both of them are different yet equally great.

If you were to repeat the exchange, would you change anything?

We do have a single regret: during our next exchange, we would like to do something for the local community. Help the visited community out with what we do – design – will be high on our list next year. Benefiting a local cause would both create extra value for the exchange project as a whole, and would enrich our personal experience. If we did so, we would have exchanged not only our studios but good deeds, too.

Do you think the exchange will influence your business development in any way?

The project will benefit our business in several ways. First and foremost, this is by far the best team building experience we ever had. When the team is united, challenges are way easier to overcome. Second, while at the exchange, we had a chance to meet many local designers and artists. One of them is Florence-based studio Monogrid, which is working with interactive digital solutions. The technologies they use are literally eye-opening and jaw-dropping, and we are eager to collaborate with them on future projects.



Here you can find the exchange website.

Information about Muttnik from Florence

Information about Andstudio from Vilnius