Marketing

Building Blocks of Business Growth: Matthias Hollwich of HWKN [Podcast]

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When Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner started HWKN, their award-winning architectural firm in Manhattan with 40-plus employees, they built the foundation for their firm as a two-man team.

business growthFast forward to today, and HWKN has received international attention in 2012 for winning a design competition called the 13th Young Architects Program meant to transform the courtyard of MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens.

Before jumpstarting his architectural firm with Marc about 10 years ago, Matthias moved to New York to start his teaching career at University of Pennsylvania where he was inspired by the competitiveness and collaboration that surrounded him.

Shifting gears from teaching to business development was a challenge at first, but was something Matthias was more inspired to maneuver as he became more curious about the world of business from his Vistage Key Group meetings.

And so far, the firm has taken on an impressive list of projects that include: UNIQLO cubes, the white storefront of Il Laboratorio Del Gelato, and Obama’s Dr. Martin Luther King outreach project for homeless youth in the Washington, D.C., area.

Behind its philosophy of “anti-egoism architecture” lies an approach many would consider bold.

Matthias said the best business advice that he attributes to the growth and success of his firm is to “break the rules, despite people telling you ‘no you can’t do that.’ ”

A prime example, Matthias recalls, is when others discouraged him from starting a social media company for architects called Architizer. The social media network was the first of its kind and has seen continued growth since its founding in 2009.

“So my advice has always been to go with your curiosity, have a very clear strategy and always build on the excellence you’re striving for,” he said.

Learn more about HWKN here.

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Dave Nelsen About the Author: Dave Nelsen

I joined Vistage as a founding member (CE 676) in 2003. I've started four tech companies, attracting $70MM in venture capital. I was recognized as E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year (2000) and as Vistage Best Speaker of the Year (2011). I've h…

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