Hem opens first physical store in Berlin

Online furniture brand Hem has opened its first physical shop, occupying the ground floor of the company's headquarters on Berlin's Friedrichstrasse (+ slideshow).

Hem Store Berlin

Hem, which was set up by co-founders of online design retailer Fab.com and Scandinavian design brand One Nordic last year, opened its Berlin store on Saturday.

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The shop includes displays of Hem's own customisable storage ranges and its latest homewares alongside pieces inherited from One Nordic and its recent purchase of 200 products from Italian design brand Discipline.

Customers will be able to browse the full Hem catalogue via tablets and laptops placed around the store and carried by staff, as well as create customised designs online.

Hem Store Berlin

Rather than picking up products directly from the store, shoppers will have their choices delivered to their homes.

A wooden counter called the Easy Bar offers hands-on tutorials for assembling the furniture pieces, which are usually shipped either folded-down or flat-packed, as well as interior design advice from Hem staff.

Hem Store Berlin

"Berlin is the startup capital of Europe," said Hem founder and CEO Jason Goldberg, who left Fab last year. "There's a great design culture and community of design enthusiasts, and our innovative modern aesthetic resonates very well here."

Goldberg said that the information on customer behaviour and feedback collected from the Berlin store would help the brand with its plans to open more Hem stores in other cities and countries.

"The Hem Store Berlin is our first step in developing more direct relationship touchpoints with our customers in the future," he added.

Hem Store Berlin

The interior of the store was designed by Hem's own team. The project was led by Goldberg with Hem co-founder Petrus Palmér – who was creative director of One Nordic and also co-founded Swedish design studio Form Us With Love – and Ilenia Martini, Hem's head of marketing.

Hem Store Berlin

The 165-square-metre space features a pale concrete floor and has largely been painted white, with most of the colour provided by pieces of furniture from Hem's range.

As visitors enter, they are greeted by a pale green wall with the writing "Welcome to design made easy". A cluster of lamps originally designed by Form Us With Love for One Nordic hangs in front of the wall, lighting a display of tables beneath.

Hem Store Berlin

The Easy Bar is situated to the right hand side of this entrance area with a pale grey wall behind it.

Behind the entrance area, white storage hangs pm the walls beside a wooden table with dark chairs. The rear wall features a collection of colour swatches – these show options for customising the storage pieces.

Hem Store Berlin

The opposite corner features storage arranged in an L-shape, showing various hanging options for clothes as well as drawers and shelves. A section of chairs produced by Hem is arranged in a grid on the wall.

Hem Store Berlin

A table, chairs, stools and block of storage are styled as an informal meeting or dining area, while grey sofas delineate another more relaxed space.

Hem Store Berlin

Hem launched as an independent business in July 2014, one month after One Nordic was acquired by Goldberg under the Fab banner.

Hem Store Berlin

It is the second online furniture retailer to open a physical space this year, following the Feburary unveiling of Made.com's showroom in London's Soho.