"We need contrast and tension to be able to create"
Contrasts, and holding them in creative tension, define the work of Sam Hecht and Kim Colin. Their designs reflect both a meticulous attention to an object’s details and a thoughtful consideration of its context. Thus, they measure the success of their designs, “not only in sales or notoriety but also in the contribution to the greater good of the industry (and we hope, the planet).”
Hecht and Colin at their core embody two contrasting worldviews. He is a native Londoner, educated as an industrial designer, contemplative, and drawn to essential simplicity. She is a Californian, trained as an architect, effusive, and drawn to use the sensibilities of her discipline—emotion, scale, landscape, culture—to inform design.
Their studio—Industrial Facility—is located in central London’s Clerkenwell neighborhood—itself a place of opposites, hip and professional, home to thinkers and entertainers. The studio is small in number, eclectic in talent.
“Each of us is from a different part of the world,” notes Colin, “and we collaborate constantly about ideas, methods, and opinions. Our work is never created in cultural isolation, and therefore our office behaves like a good, condensed international neighborhood, which is efficient, energetic, and pleasurable.”
Hecht adds that “when we are working through the design process, it is very much a series of conversations. What comes out of it is a sense of equilibrium because the process, the result, is essentially holding those two points of view.”
Since founding their studio in 2002, Hecht and Colin have used their “worldly views” to design objects that range in scale from the diminutive to the architectural. In addition to their work with Herman Miller, they have designed products for Yamaha (Japan), Mattiazzi (Italy), Issey Miyake (Japan), Established & Sons (UK), Louis Vuitton and Tectona (France), and Muji (Japan). Originally, in 2008 Herman Miller asked both Kim and Sam to become retained creative advisors.
Many of their designs are held in museum permanent collections, including those of MoMA in New York City, The Art Institute in Chicago, The Finlandia Museum, Helsinki, The San Francisco MoMA, The Pompidou Centre in Paris, and State Museum of Applied Arts in Munich, and the V&A Museum in London.