Hem Creates Permanent New York Presence With SoHo Design Studio
For several years, Hem founder Petrus Palmér has eyed a permanent home for his Stockholm-based brand in New York, but finding the right person to host such a location took precedence over the hunt for real estate. “I wanted someone to run the New York studio who was knowledgable about design and architecture; who could create a community here,” said Palmér gesturing toward Asad Syrkett, a former design editor who took on the role.
Next came the space. “We wanted to be in SoHo because it’s the epicenter of creativity,” Palmér continued. “You can walk down the streets and get inspired.” Hem’s first New York studio, which opened today at 460 Broome Street, indeed reflects the ethos of its surroundings. Upon stepping into the second-story space, a custom sculptural installation by design duo Chen Chen and Kai Williams, founders of Chen & Kai, catches the eye. The piece, which stands 10 feet tall, is comprised of 20 mirrored panels attached to a linear steel structure. Each panel, created by pouring a thin layer of silver nitrate over a pane of glass, features visibly raw silver edges for a distinctly downtown aesthetic.
“We wanted to create a wall of mirrors in a way that would have an effect on people,” said Kai Williams, standing next to the installation. Chen and Kai first met Palmér several years ago, though this marks their first collaboration together. “When Petrus came to us about this project, we all agreed it was important that it not be mistaken as something from Hem’s collection so aesthetically we were looking for something a little more raw,” the pair said. “We ended up with this rough, scaffold-like structure which has a real dichotomy with Hem’s furniture.”
The piece creates a striking entrance in the brand’s 2,500 square-foot historic loft, which Palmér hopes will become a hub for designers and creatives in the area. “We wanted this space to be more creative and dynamic than a typical showroom,” he said, noting that Hem plans to host events and gatherings in New York going forward.
The studio will feature a rotating installation of the brand’s classic pieces, such as the Kumo Sofa, Last Stool, Alle Tables, Touchwood and Udon chairs, and the Alphabeta pendants along with recently-launched pieces including the Max Lamb Max Table and Bench, and Jenny Nordberg’s Powder Vases.
The SoHo studio marks Hem’s second permanent outpost in the United States—its Los Angeles showroom opened last year—vastly expanding the brand’s global reach. “Hem is built on the value of giving back, and we hope this space will give back to the community around it,” said Palmér, pointing out that the word hem in Swedish means home—a sentiment the brand’s new space embodies.