Mattelsa is a gigantic cube, made out of crystal, on one corner of the Perpetuo Socorro neighborhood in Medellin. There, in a gigantic square, gray and producing the appearance of being austere, is Mattelsa.
This name is found in the interior tags of rebel and very “in” clothing. It is a brand, a textile company, and a successful account on social media. Mattelsa goes beyond that, and during the second visit of the Social Lab, this became evident. Its real identity was uncovered. Like in every visit during this route, words and experiences create new ideas, and erase old ones. This has been a journey of learning and unlearning, listening and observing.
The first thing that was “unlearned” was the tendency of deeming Mattelsa as a mere textile company. Mattelsa is rather a community, a family, and a team of individuals whose hobby is the creation and production of the best clothing of the
From its main offices, plants hang over the lobby if the building. There is a garden in one of the highest floors. Next to the lobby, there is a market that offers organic and vegan products, and a library full of history and tales. The walls are covered with mantras, and music flows around the ample corridors, gardens, and gets mixed with
the sunlight in every corner.
Free yourself from the need to win.
Free yourself from the need to be right.
Free yourself from the need to feel superior.
Free yourself from the need to have more.
Free yourself from the need to identify yourself with your accomplishments.
Free yourself form the need to be famous.
These are hymns and part of the philosophy that guide each person that “works” in this place. The guiding principles of this place are around the enrichment of the soul of its members through nourishment, sports, leisure time, socialization and knowledge. Its essence and genesis is that power operates transversally, and everyone, from the graphic designer to the gardeners, to the executives, live under this conviction.
Rimbaud used to say something like this: “the hand that drives the plow is as valuable as the one that drives the pen”. This is the organizational culture of Mattelsa, understood as a culture around the wellbeing of people, where everyone is relevant.
Here, people are at the center, and their wellbeing and their passions, are as important as their labor and efficiency.
Their emphasis and energy is on being.
And then, the visitors, showing amusement and enthusiasm, had a question: how to take this idea to an entire city? How to understand that there needs to be a conceptual shift from perceiving individuals as productive machines, towards conceiving them as people whose happiness is the engine that drives change and transformations?