Marco Eisenack, owner of Munich Innovation Crew agency, publisher of MUCBOOK and founder of MUCBOOK CLUBHAUS, explains how properties can be revitalized and become launchpads for creative minds.


OLIVER HERWIG: Why are you part of the mcbw?

MARCO EISENACK: I firmly believe in mcbw’s philosophy of bringing together creative economy, business, creative minds and companies. Munich is a great location with a strong higher education landscape, home to global companies and a vibrant creative economy. Our aim is to encourage these worlds to intermesh more closely, because in Munich people still tend to stay in their own bubbles.


OH: The new MUCBOOK CLUBHAUS in Giesing, destined as an ecosystem for creative professionals, provides that encouragement.

ME: Exactly! We provide fertile ground for innovation all year round. It has to be able to grow. It takes an incredibly long time for people to build up trust and get moving so that genuine dialogue and collaborative new ideas can evolve. But it’s been that way in all our organizations. It takes a year before the first ideas for collaboration come to fruition.


OH: What form can that collaboration take?

ME: At our KICKOFF in Munich’s Westend district, a 3D printing expert teamed up with an artist and they designed a lamp together. Collaboration needs a common space, but it also needs time. I’d imagined it would be a far simpler and faster process. It’s so obvious we’re part of nature, where such a major role is played by human interaction. Because of this, the great vision we have with our clubhouses is to create a permanent ecosystem.

OH: The MUCBOOK CLUBHAUS in Westend isn’t the first, is it?

ME: No, that’s right. We’ve just opened our 23rd temporary-use project – since 2019. The idea came about from MUCBOOK, our city listings magazine. We wanted to transform the positive stories about pioneers and their ideas into three-dimensional experiences, which then became spaces for creative working, inspiring dialogue and cultural interventions. Our locations change, but the MUCBOOK universe is the constant. And it’s expanding.


OH: Are the clubhouses something like acupuncture needles in the spatial context of the city? Placed where something needs to change?

ME: That’s a nice image, because we’re naturally microscopic compared to the city. But as we know, the flutter of a butterfly wing can set great events in motion. By providing impetus and inspiration, we aim to bring intriguing, stimulating people together and spark good ideas that make the city a better place. And that’s our motto: “We make Munich a better place for good people.”


OH: What motivates people to carry on going into the office in this day and age?

ME: Meeting other people, obviously. We strive to foster community by bringing together people with similar values and goals.


OH: What do creative minds need in this ecosystem?

ME: Creative processes are often haunts of self-doubt and self-criticism. They need someone to bounce ideas off. The Clubhaus is a great opportunity to look over people’s shoulders, and sometimes get a helping hand. We’re a cozy nest, but also a rocket launching pad. A protected space where people can grow their strength, but also a place where they can step into the public spotlight and take off. You could say we go from start-up to scale-up.




OH: So the right framework is the main priority?

ME: Exactly. The problem in Munich is that a lot of office space is set up for large-scale companies. Very few property owners have shown any inclination to bring in smaller tenants like start-ups, which don’t want to sign a contract committing them to a ten-year lease.

OH: So what’s the solution?

ME: As an anchor tenant, MUCBOOK CLUBHAUS provides a stimulating space and curates a blend of creative professionals, start-ups and established companies that inspire each other and use the space in parallel. More efficient use of space provides vital leverage for us to keep rents affordable.


OH: Has the situation eased in the wake of COVID-19 and the growth of working from home?

ME: Rents for prime locations on the classic office space market are not going to fall, purely because the quality of those spaces is constantly rising. But office blocks in B locations are finding it increasingly difficult to attract large-scale tenants. This is where MUCBOOK CLUBHAUS can step up in the role of placemaker and transform a vacant property into a creative hub which then generates its own intrinsic attraction and offers more than just office space.


OH: So a combination of cafe …

ME: ... and workshop space, maybe hosting talks in the evenings and a pop-up store by a local label. A space for surprises and inspiration. That’s the kind of co-creation we’re currently establishing in CANDY in Munich’s Giesing district. A yoga studio in the mornings, coworking during the day, club events in the evenings, and exhibitions and debates on weekends. A kind of cutting-edge take on a local meeting space. To achieve that, buildings need to be far more flexible and allow for mixed use instead of assigning the various types of use to separate little boxes. This is where we’re confronted by the realities of the Building Code.


OH: Real estate is still designed in a very one-sided way.

ME: That will change. In the future, buildings will be brought to life, curated and occupied in completely different ways. Even office properties will no longer be lifeless blocks, but attractive places. Employees want a space where things happen that are completely unconnected to work. These “third places” are located on the ground floor and used in parallel with the other types of use.


OH: What does planning law have to say about that?

ME: Everyone – first and foremost the property owners, of course – wants cast-iron planning certainty. On the other hand, there are about 3500 industrial standards to consider. And amazingly, more are added every year. Basically, what we need is more courage. No growth without courage. And it doesn’t need to be in the classic sense of “farther, higher, faster.” I’m thinking of growth that’s made up of networks and symbiotic relationships.


OH: Isn’t Munich a pretty bad place for experiments?

ME: No, quite the opposite – Munich is an ideal place for new ventures! The mindset is perfect and there are plenty of hands-on makers. Munich’s beer garden culture is a symbol of how widely differing groups can come together and have a good time. That can also apply to other topics, too – to the transformation of cities, business models, and everything that requires people to step outside their boxes. That’s where Munich is less prejudiced than Berlin or Hamburg, which are cities built in a far more confrontational way. The spirit of “live and let live” is alive and well in Munich, and that’s what I like most about the city.