Dezeen Magazine

Philippe Malouin aimed to create "three-dimensional sketches" with experimental Hem installation

London designer Philippe Malouin explains how he spent a week making a host of experimental room dividers for Hem in this movie Dezeen filmed in New York for the Swedish design brand.

Malouin and Hem's Study for Screens installation presented a range of different conceptual space-dividing screens during NYCxDesign 2017 last month.

Philippe Malouin portrait
London designer Philippe Malouin. Copyright: Dezeen

"Study for Screens is a visual research project that is all about idea generation around screens and separating space," Malouin explains in the movie.

"I spent a week at a WeWork making things non-stop. These screens are three-dimensional sketch models. They are ideas, they're not finished products whatsoever."

Study for Screens by Philippe Malouin for Hem

Hem presented seven of the 13 screens that Malouin made, alongside its latest furniture and lighting collections within the historic interiors of WeWork Bryant Park, a 1902 building by noted architects York & Sawyer New York.

Each visitor to the exhibition was given a printed pamphlet documenting all 13 creations, which Malouin made from an assortment of materials including upholstery foam, packing peanuts, plastic sheeting and even balloons.

Study for Screens by Philippe Malouin for Hem

Malouin says that his favourite piece is a glowing arc made from tent poles and strips of LED tape.

"It was an accident, I saw tent rods sitting next to an LED roll and the ideas just came together really quickly," he explains.

"I really love it because it separates the space and uses hardly any materials."

Study for Screens by Philippe Malouin for Hem

Another of Malouin's favourites is a screen made from nothing but a curved perforated metal sheet and a piece of string.

"I really like it because it requires so little intervention," the designer says. "It is nothing but a perforated metal sheet and it becomes structural just by bending it slightly by using a piece of string."

Study for Screens by Philippe Malouin for Hem

One of the most popular pieces with visitors is a giant soft structure made from packaging peanuts and leather, Malouin says.

"People really seem to like the giant leather beanbag wall," Malouin says. "It just created this very strange soft barrier."

Study for Screens by Philippe Malouin for Hem

Malouin says he hopes the project will help to "demystify the creative process" of design.

"I hope that the projects shows that [design] is not difficult and that everyone can do it," he says.

"If you want to generate ideas, start making things out of any available material and try to experiment with as many concepts as you can."

Study for Screens by Philippe Malouin for Hem

Hem founder Petrus Palmér describes the project as "a leap of faith" and says the company commissioned Malouin – who has previously designed a wood table for the brand – with a very open brief.

"We ended up with something that gave us lots of different ideas," Palmér says.

"The next step is to evaluate from a functional point of view what could be actually interesting to put into production. It's a very good start and now we'll see where we take it next."

Petrus Palmér
Hem founder Petrus Palmér. Copyright: Dezeen

This movie was filmed by Dezeen in New York for Hem.

All photography used in this post is by Erik Lefvander, unless specified.