Laura Kummer – Hybrid project management

Bei Kinzo seit 2021

Hey Laura, you’re back at Kinzo after 12 years – welcome back! Can you tell us a bit about how it all started?

I started as a freelancer, working on projects like Adidas, Maygreen and the Vandura Van.

It’s been a decade, over half of Kinzo’s existence. What has changed since then?

The Number of employees has increased a lot – back then it was just Chris, Karim and Martin, plus Maud for 3 days/week and me for 3 days/week. Also, Kinzo now offers consulting as a profound base for their interior and architecture design. In terms of design, back then everything was mostly black and white with the Kinzo-signature slants. Whereas now, the projects are quite colorful. All in all, Kinzo has become very professional – now with marketing, accounting and HR colleagues, BIM trainings, the organizational concept with project managers having various responsibilities. And an even cooler coffee machine in the Berlin office!

Coffee’s always important! Has anything remained the same?

The coffee is still very good. Chris, Karim, and Martin with the same dynamic as always. Martin still sits surrounded by blue foam models. The server name hasn’t changed. And of course, dog lovers in the office.

Fast forward to today, you’re now part of Kinzo’s growing Munich team. How has it been, what are you working on these days?

Our projects at the moment are mostly mid-sized and down-to-earth, as well as directly with Munich-based companies. My position is project manager, but I also support in all kinds of issues – helping the site to grow, become better known and develop.

My first impression was that Kinzo Munich is located in the most suitable corner of Munich for Kinzo and that the industry partners seem to be happy about the additional location – simply because Kinzo has made a name for itself nationwide. But it has also been quite a challenge to live the Kinzo DNA without the founders and their history.

Makes sense, most people still associate Kinzo with Berlin – how is the Munich office influenced by that?

Munich’s clientele is often more stable and traditional – Kinzo Munich has the task of adapting the freshness of Kinzo to Munich‘s established market.

Between your engagements at Kinzo, you spent a significant period working at Vitra. Are there any critical learnings you’ve taken from your experiences through the years that you bring to practice today?

Well, this was definitely my most important insight: you don‘t plan for yourself or the management, you plan for the users. There was hardly a project without talking intensively to the users and involving them. As architects and designers, we are service providers, not self-actualizers. Therefore, it is also important to support beyond project completion to substantiate what has been learned and applied practically. Space is always an important strategic resource for companies and should therefore be designed in a sustainable manner (in terms of design, construction materials and social aspect).

And moving forward into this new chapter at Kinzo?

This approach and attitude to projects is very close to that of Kinzo. In this respect, I think I can contribute quite a lot. Especially in the consulting phase. Larger companies have a different corporate culture and organization per se compared to architecture practices. Insights into such can certainly also be interesting to transfer and compare to smaller organizations and teams.

My tasks and experiences recently have also gone beyond pure project business as a team leader. Working in a team for strategic tasks, much of our time has also been about how to market planning services. All these approaches that have shaped me, together with Kinzo‘s own approach, certainly complement and enrich each other well.