Building a network of passionate people coming together to harness the power of our collaboration and imagination for a vibrant future.

Three facts about us

Sonder operates as a network of over 20 members and collaborators across four continents.

Sonder is registered in Finland and is governed by the Finnish Co-operative Act but our members are based across the globe.

Sonder was founded 2017 by Melanie Wendland, Ledia Andrawes and Damaris Rodriguez.

The story behind Sonder

Sonder was born out of a desire to work differently.

To us, this meant deviating from the traditional style of working that is characteristic of many corporate design consultancies. This also meant shifting from a hierarchical structure of management, to a democratic, participatory style of self-governance. With this set up Sonder can always put the best combination of people with specialized expertise (rather than who is available) on a project, pulling from a wide network of professionals. With this lean organisational structure, Sonder keeps operational costs to a minimum. We do not aim to make profit off of the that work we do, instead we are guided by the impact that we can create. Transparency is key to us, so can read in detail about how we are set up in our handbook:

Our work ethos

We have engaged in many, many hours of conversation around what drives us personally, and the best way to distill and summarize the values that we prioritize as a co-operative.

What means Sonder

It was important to us that our Collective name represents the way that we see the world and understand the people we design with. It was also of equal importance to us that our name demonstrates both the individuality and shared connectedness that defines us.

“The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.” (from the “Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” by John Koenig)

The S in our brand is a reflection of these many stories that co-exist and cross paths. The name Sonder for our collective acknowledges the complexity of stories that interlink when we design with people and that we can always ever only get a glimpse of the stories that influence the way we make decisions, behave and live our lives. We are all starring in our own story but we are backdrops to other people`s stories. The name Sonder reflects a curiosity for the complexity of our stories and teaches us humility of our own actions.


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