I’m in Bangkok to meet Hans Werner Mueller, the founder of HWM, one of the strong and upcoming creative agencies in Thailand.
Hans was born in Germany where he studied psychology and later worked in the creative industry in Paris, London and New York.
Then followed an unexpected move to Thailand.
“There were two reasons I came to Thailand,” Hans says. “The first was Buddhism. I found that the hectic lifestyle I led in the West where competition is the name of the game, didn’t stimulate my creativity anymore. So I stepped out of the rat race and changed the rules of the game. I wanted to have freedom of choice and pick assignments I was passionate about. I knew that the results would automatically be better.
“Some people say they need an inspiring environment to be creative. I believe inspiration comes from within, not from the environment.”
“And the second reason?” I ask. “You said there were two reasons you moved to Thailand.”
“The global shift of economic power,” Hans says. “Economic power used to be concentrated in the US and Europe. Today it is gradually shifting eastward to India, China and Indonesia. Southeast Asia is a great place from which to witness and feel this shift in power.
“In the past, you had to be based in New York or London if you wanted to be part of the creative in-crowd. Nowadays, work made in Bangkok can easily compete with ad agencies from the West. And of course with global communication you don’t have to be in the same place as your client.”
“Why is it important for you to be able to choose your own clients and assignments?”
“When you can choose your own assignments, you pick the ones you are passionate about and where you can really add value. I firmly believe that when you have the freedom to create, you can create something really special, with the client. The clients we serve at HWM are open to new ideas and are willing to take risks. That is why the work we produce at HWM is better, more creative and more salient than if we would be restricted by preconceived ideas and limitations.”
“Besides your agency, you are also involved in food concepts. How did this combination come about?
“It’s actually based on the same idea we just talked about. Following your passion and creating perfection.
“The concept behind the two restaurants I opened, Spring and Summer, is to combine high-quality organic Thai food with a relaxed atmosphere, nature and Buddhist culture.
“Interestingly, Spring became a game changer in the Thai market. Since we opened it, the standard of restaurants has been raised and the ideas behind them are more creative, so our concept reached beyond just our restaurant.
“In the end, it is all about guarding our vision, the things we stand for in life.”
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