Design Meets Fine Art In This Seattle Studio’s Approach To Craft


Bar area with three pendant lights.

Since founding Mutuus Studio in 2016, Saul and Kristen Becker and Jim Friesz have honed their hands-on, artisanal approach to design. Built spaces come alive with the handcrafted lighting, hardware and finishes of Mutuus Made, the Seattle-based studio’s object-based design arm. Here, the trio explains their approach to craft.

How was Mutuus born? KB: Our goal was to return to an intimate connection with process. We wanted to design from the inside out, beginning with the craft of making.

Saul, how does your background in fine art inform Mutuus’ approach? SB: As a painter and sculptor, I’m concerned with how things are made. Architecture is the volume, but it’s also what you touch, see and smell. Our Mutuus Made objects embed a layer of narrative, making spaces feel rich and human.

Any favorite Mutuus Made objects? KB: We love the Dead City Pendant (shown). It feels like a piece of alabaster. SB: Each one is slightly different—it’s a dialogue between fine art and design.

Hands creating a pendant light.