The most touching album this year.
Sufjan Stevens – Fourth Of July
Sufjan Stevens – Fourth Of July
Petrus Palmér: Oh, that’s a rather long story, I try to shorten it a bit. We started a company called One Nordic, a finnish startup for furniture which went rather well but we needed funding because we were building it faster than we could pay for it. So we were looking around for someone to build the company and that was how we got in touch with Jason Goldberg, the founder of Fab and now Hem. So we approached him actually because we needed an investment and he saw an opportunity to build a collection. So Jason Goldberg bought One Nordic and the company’s competence including its furniture collection.
How do you choose the designers for Hem?
Petrus Palmér: My role is to manage the assortment and of course dealing with the designers. Especially coming from design I know a lot of designers and I know a lot of good ones and it’s very natural to work in a collaborative way. So to me it’s the only thing I know how to do– to involve other talented people.
Do you then ask designers to develop and design furniture for Hem or do designers approach Hem with their products?
Petrus Palmér: Well, with these guys it was really different. (Looking at Staffan, Sylvain and Lars) You all came also „involuntarily“! (laughing) But you can tell your own story, please.
Lars Beller Fjetland: I worked for the Italian company Discipline and in February parts of their company were bought by Hem and that included my products. I think it was the case that one company wanted to scale down and the other one to scale up. And I saw it as a fantastic opportunity because I really believe in Hem and that this is a company for the future.
Petrus Palmér: Even though we did buy parts of Discipline, Lars is a designer we would have wanted to work with anyway, I think his work is great! We being Hem didn’t buy Discipline because we needed a collection, but because we needed to have a lot of talented people in the collaborations. So it is a kind of „Superbrand“ in the sense that we actually take parts of other brands and put them together. But to me it’s not about compromising with quality or being less true to what we want to do. Just doing it on this scale and with this speed — you cannot do it organically. Because trying to develop that amount of products in this amount of time just can’t be done.
How about you, Staffan and Sylvain?
Staffan Holm: I was almost on board from the beginning because I met Petrus and Joel Roos (CEO of One Nordic) before they we’re actually bought by Hem. We met in Milan and started a collaboration. So I think it was the second product for One Nordic — I designed the Lift Shelf. It’s really exciting to see Hem growing so fast.
Petrus Palmér: It really is. And the whole industry is looking, you can really feel that. Hem is totally different to the conventional furniture brands on the market.
Sylvain Willenz: For me it also started at the very beginning when Hem used to be One Nordic. I was very early on board being asked to design products for the brand. They have approached me probably for my experience in lighting design, but I had done so many lightings in my life, that I wanted to try something else.
So you started to experiment with textiles, right?
Sylvain Willenz: Right! We put together the SCRIBBLE Collection which I like to think of as a part of the graphic base of One Nordic and Hem.
Petrus Palmér: Definitely. At One Nordic we had been building on the traditional, Finnish design and SCRIBBLE is such an obvious paraphrase to the brand Marimekko and the traditional Scandinavian black & white design.
Lars and Staffan, are you two also looking forward to doing something else to what you have done before for Hem?
Staffan Holm: Yes, always. That is the most interesting aspect — being open to different solutions and new materials.
Lars Beller Fjetland: For sure. It’s really interesting to do something with materials you aren‘t familiar with, because then you dig into the matter for that purpose. Perhaps you have the feeling of being a bit overwhelmed and scared and suddenly you learn something new — that‘s what makes the design process interesting.
The look of Hem is a mix of Scandinavian coolness and a touch of classic Italian chic, perfectly represented by GamFratesi, two of my favorite designers. How do those styles go together?
Lars Beller Fjetland: There is actually a connection between the Scandinavian and the Mediterranean design. Both styles are very simplistic, there`s a lot of wood and similar materials. There is a traditional stool in Norway that has a wooden construction and a woven seaweed seat. We think of it as a very Norwegian thing, but it originates from the Mediterranean.
Petrus Palmér: Yes, I think our design is honest, because we don’t try to adapt anything. This is the kind of design we are all interested in.
Hem mainly approaches the market online. Isn‘t this totally different to other furniture brands?
Petrus Palmér: True, the furniture industry is one of the last industries concentrating on online distribution, a lot of brands are still stuck in the old model, which makes it really hard for them to move forward. We are not saying that we are not offline, we are just saying that we are online first.
Lars Beller Fjetland: The costumers are getting more product for their money because there is a short supply chain. That‘s great and something to keep in mind.
Petrus Palmér: Selling online makes the pieces available to everyone and it‘s fun having quality products without having to compromise.
Thank you for the interview and good luck for the future of Hem!
Hem Store, Friedrichstraße 224, 10969 Berlin
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