In just six years, the Swedish design label Hem has established itself as one of the most agile design companies for bringing future design classics directly into the homes of an international clientele. As an early adopter of the direct-to-consumer model and in applying it to the design field, Hem now offers over 400 products designed by some of the most respected design names, like Luca Nichetto, Max Lamb, Pauline Deltour and Gam Fratesi, available in 34 countries.

This week, the Stockholm-based firm celebrates a new milestone – opening a permanent space in the heart of New York’s Soho neighbourhood. Occupying a 2,500 sq ft space in an airy, historic loft, the inviting New York space joins the brand’s other presences in Stockholm and Los Angeles.

‘Our concept behind this new space is actually one of a studio, rather than a showroom,’ explains Hem’s founder Petrus Palmér. ‘Hem is a progressive company and brand. We take pride in doing things differently. We sell directly to our customers and we don’t have retailers, agents or distributors. We want to talk directly to our customers, and interact with them in a creative setting. That sounded more like a studio to us!’

Hem New York

He continues, ‘We see all of our permanent spaces as dynamic hubs for the respective city’s broad creative community. We want to foster a welcoming, experimental nexus for designers, artists, and architects to meet and exchange ideas. To this end, we’ve designed the New York studio so we can easily reconfigure the individual vignettes to accommodate workshops, panels, dinners and other programming throughout the year.’

In keeping with its tradition of creating special artistic pieces for its spaces, Hem has commissioned the Brooklyn-based duo Chen & Kai to create a site-specific installation for the studio. Situated at the entrance of the space, the sculptural piece, which measures nearly ten ft tall and consists of 20 mirrored panels, is named ‘The Phalanx’ after the war formations of ancient Greece.

Hem showroom New York

Inspired by these age-old military typologies, Chen & Kai treated each mirrored panel individually, pouring silver nitrate over the glass to create a delicate, raw-edge visual effect on each surface. Assembled together on an easel-like scaffold, the conceptual pieces almost resembles a deconstructed skyscraper, reflecting light and colour all across the room.

‘We’ve been in dialogue with Chen & Kai for years,’ Palmér explains of the collaboration. ‘I personally think they are one of the most original and intriguing design studios in the country. Their work is quirky yet deeply authentic, and always holds a layer of story, sometimes profound, and sometimes just whimsical. We think [this piece] creates a particularly dynamic dialogue within the space and are honoured to have worked with them for this major moment for our brand.’ §