Designed by their in-house design team and Atelier Paul Vaugoyeau, Swedish design manufacturer Hem’s Stockholm-based headquarters are worthy of the brand’s reputation for top quality and a highly curated Scandinavian aesthetic. Their overarching goal is to create products for the auction houses of tomorrow.
But there’s a difference between arranging furniture and creating a space, and Hem has decidedly done the latter. “
“The colors are muted because most of our furniture is colorful. We wanted to create a vacuum,” explains founder and CEO Petrus Palmér.
They’ve intentionally left the grid ceiling open to emphasize the installations. The effect is fantastic; opening up what’s hidden. You can see the air vents and lighting fixtures and cords.
Meant to provide space for Hem’s approximately 40 employees that includes everything from the design team to supply chain, the headquarters brings together industrial, modernist, and minimalist style with bright color and thoughtful, often playful details.
For example, the three meter long sulfur yellow bar steals the show. It’s handmade by pouring 800 kilograms of jesmonite into balloons that are then left to sit in a pre-made mold, then finally lacquered.
There’s also a Max Lamb table displayed on the wall, to show how easy it is to assemble.
Of course, an office needs to work first and foremost as such, so functionality is front-of-mind for Hem.
“A a vertically integrated brand, we deal with everything from product development to after-sales – meaning we have a wide set of spatial needs. The R&D needs a design studio and workshop. The software developers needs rooms for quiet work and agile processes. The creative team needs a photo studio. The customer teams need to be able to pack samples and talk to customers. And the sales team needs a showroom to show the collection. At the same time, the space needs to reflect Hem’s design ethos of pushing the boundaries of vanguard design,” explains founder and CEO Petrus Palmér.
This ethos ranges from the designs themselves to how Hem brings designers into their team. Palmér notes that there are three important aspects to deciding which designers to work with:
“The person has to be someone you actually enjoy spending time with. Because if you make a product together, if you make a baby together, it’s going to be years of dinners and design weeks, so if you don’t appreciate their company, it’s going to be unbearable. Secondly, the portfolio. We want to see that you have a trajectory over the course of maybe five to 10 years, where you consistently are trying to explore something and having some type of inner voice. And then the third one, it has to be a good product. The one we make together has to be really good.”
Because Hem’s supply chain is mostly in-house, bringing in designers mostly means conceptualization and research. “It’s like a shift in who does the work, and who does the heavy lifting, Palmér explains, “so in the beginning, the designer does the work of the mockups, prototypes, testing, and renderings. When we decide that we will develop the product, then the heavy lifting is on us to do the proper prototype and sourcing of factories.”
This level of control has allowed Hem to become a design and manufacturing powerhouse in Sweden without sacrificing quality, aesthetic, or having to hike up prices.
Their commitment to design can be seen throughout the headquarters. Blending elevated and considerate design with useful space, Hem’s head office is a masterclass office design.
Take a tour of the Hem HQ in Stockholm for a dose of Swedish design inspiration:
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