Alex McCuaig, CEO & Chairman, MET Studio Design
"Met Studio does not do design for design's sake" - CEO Alex McCuaig. Image: company website.
The team at MET Studio describe themselves as “designers and storytellers”.
If so, their stories clearly translate well, as the company has been behind acclaimed international projects from Mexico to Hong Kong and Taiwan since opening its doors in 1982.
Best known for designing museum exhibitions, including the ‘Wired Worlds’ exhibition for the Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford, which was recently chosen as the best work in 25 years of the Design Week Awards, the company also creates corporate spaces for clients such as Virgin Atlantic.
Almost from the beginning, the company which was founded by Glasgow-born Alex McCuaig, has had global clients. It made early inroads into the Taiwanese market including work for the National Museum of Natural Science in Taiwan.
This set a pattern for MET’s globe-trotting work. Projects have included a museum on the nature of addition in Mexico, a visitor centre for Manchester United FC in Hong Kong and the Egyptian Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo. In the UK, it has worked for the Natural History Museum and the Royal Air Force Museum.
Chairman and CEO McCuaig entered the industry after his graduate design show impressed James Gardner, then the leading UK exhibition designer, who first designed the interior of the luxury QE2 liner.
In a pleasingly circular development, when the QE2 was decommissioned and turned into a floating hotel, MET Studio masterplanned and designed its public spaces.
McCuaig says that it is the consistency and quality of the studio work that has ensured the company’s success.
He told Designcurial: "Some design companies have specific styles, and you can easily identify them. MET Studio is much more about high-end bespoke design."
Receiving the firm’s Design Week’s ‘Age of Design’ Award, he said: “When MET Studio started life over 30 years ago, it was with the singular aim to help give those we worked with a lasting legacy; something that would help to engage, entertain and educate people.
“MET Studio does not do design for design’s sake but through our considered creative approach, in a small way we try to help to change the world for the better.”
MET is leading the creation of Indonesia’s first museum of international modern and contemporary art.
McCuaig says that when the firm first arrived in Jakarta, it noticed that creativity was “everywhere” in the city and the museum should reflect the public space. It is expected to open in 2017.