Stockholm-based design brand Hem opened the doors to its first NYC location this week. The space is located in the heart of Soho and invites visitors to experience Hem's products through several domestic vignettes featuring a rotating selection of its products.
Hem is a direct to consumer brand that aims to create high quality designs that are still modern and forward-thinking. Customers are able to go straight to Hem's website and order anything directly to their home. The brand's furniture designs are optimized for shipping, as the process of getting designs from point A to point B is a large factor of its business model. "The reason I started Hem was really to take a stab at trying to change the furniture industry," Hem founder and CEO Petrus Palmér tells Core77.
As a way to further connect with design-minded consumers, Hem partners with a global network of designers, manufacturing their work in their European network of factories. Max Lamb's Max Table and Jenny Nordberg's Powder Vases will both be on display during the studio's opening, followed by a rotating selection of Hem's other offerings.
True to the brand's direct to consumer business, the space is meant to function differently than a traditional furniture showroom. By dubbing its NYC space a "studio" rather than a "showroom," Hem hopes to create a comfortable space where customers and industry professionals can easily purchase products on-site for same-week delivery. The studio can also easily reconfigured to accommodate workshops, panels, and other programming.
"The industry is extremely archaic. You have a few large players that are built on quite old structures with dealerships and middlemen," explains Palmér. "In the end, that structure limits the potential of any new brand to reach their audience. I think it's much more future proof to go direct and not rely on someone else to talk to your customers."
Besides Hem's own work, a star of its NYC studio is a sculpture by Brooklyn-based designers Chen Chen & Kai Williams that the brand commissioned specifically for the site. The piece, shown in the first image of this article, is situated at the entrance of the studio and greets visitors in a grand way with its 10-foot tall stature and 20 mirrored panels.
To create the piece, the designers poured a thin layer of silver nitrate over each individual glass panel. Each pour resulted in a different effect, leading to unique mirror and transparent glass configurations on each panel. In its final form, the each panel in the installation can be adjusted to alter its reflection.
Hem's permanent NYC studio is located at 460 Broome Street on the second floor and is open by appointment only beginning March 16. This marks Hem's second permanent location in the U.S., following the opening of its LA space last year.
Emily is a freelance writer based in NYC with an interest in all things design, specifically the design process. When she's not writing about design, Emily can either be found taking care of her 31 houseplants, going on "nature" walks in her neighborhood or studying Japanese. Before going freelance, Emily was an Editor at Core77.