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’s a native Londoner, educated as an industrial designer, contemplative, and drawn to essential simplicity. She’s from California, 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, home to the hip and professional, both thinkers and entertainers. “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 our office behaves like a 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 is essentially holding those two points of view,” both detail and context.
Since founding their studio in 2002, Hecht and Colin have designed objects that range in scale from the diminutive to the architectural. In addition to their work with Herman Miller, they have designed products for Mattiazzi, Issey Miyake, Established & Sons, Louis Vuitton, Tectona, Yamaha, and Muji. Both Colin and Hecht have been named to the prestigious Royal Designers for Industry (RDI) list, the highest honor for designers working in the United Kingdom. Colin received her RDI in 2015, becoming the first female product designer to join the list; Hecht received his RDI in 2008.