Retail Focus: Hem pop-up San Francisco by Jonathan Olivares

Having opened its first US showroom in LA, Hem debuted a retail space in San Fran in the form of a pop-up shop

Words by Emily Martin
All Images: Daniele Ansidei

Swedish furniture brand Hem has achieved rapid global growth since its launch in 2014. Collaborating with other designers and European manufacturers, to create a range of sustainable furniture, accessories and lighting, Hem’s stylish products are now found in homes and workplaces all around the world. Having opened its first US showroom earlier last year, in Los Angeles’ Arts District, November 2019 saw the Stockholm-based company debut its first retail experience in San Francisco, in the form of a pop-up shop. Conceptualised by LA-based designer Jonathan Olivares, the space drew inspiration from the San Francisco’s iconic surf and skate culture.

The three-seater Kumo Sofa by Anderssen & VollThe three-seater Kumo Sofa by Anderssen & Voll

Hem SF, as the shop was dubbed, was located in the vibrant shopping district of Hayes Valley. ‘As one of the premier global direct-to-consumer design brands, we’ve had our sights set on doing a pop-up in San Francisco for some time,’ says Hem CEO and founder Petrus Palmér. ‘We wanted our first foray into this market to be reflective of the vibrancy of the local community, so enlisting Jonathan to create a California-inspired shop made perfect sense.’

The pop-up shop showed a selection of Hem’s products set against a series of new room dividers designed by Olivares. Surfboard shaper Scott Anderson and skateboarding legend Skip Engblom made the room dividers, which helped situate Hem’s objects within the context of Californian culture. The shop signage is a further tie to the area’s visual culture, and was created by a local sign painter in a hand style that draws from San Francisco’s graffiti and sign painting. ‘I have known Petrus for a number of years and my admiration for Hem grows every year,’ says Olivares. ‘Helping Hem further engage with the California and especially Bay Area audience, as well as meeting and working with Scott Anderson and Skip Engblom, master craftsmen and important figures in skate and surf culture, merged my professional and personal interests. Working with them to provide a context for Hem’s collection was a privilege.’

A number of accessories were on displayA number of accessories were on display

With quality and accessibility at the core of Hem’s offering, the San Francisco shop showcased a selection of seating, tables and accessories made in collaboration with designers from around the world. Key pieces included Kumo Sofa by Anderssen & Voll, Last Stool by Max Lamb, and Hai Chair by Luca Nichetto, as well as a number of accessories including the Stripe Throw by Arthur Arbesser, Storm Cushion by Sylvain Willenz, and Table Mortar by Mark Braun.

Hem’s collection now includes over 500 products and is available in 34 countries, with the largest markets being the US, the UK, Germany and France. It is Hem’s digital channel that allows the brand to pull off what it first envisioned: to conceive and manufacture design of the highest quality, available at an accessible price point.

Hem’s full collection now spans more than 500 productsHem’s full collection now spans more than 500 products

The Hem SF pop-up showcased the brand’s wares to a key component of their consumer base in a brick and mortar setting. Following the success of Hem’s first US showroom in LA, Hem SF marks an important step as the brand continues to expand within the US, with a permanent showroom planned for New York in 2020. 


Jonathan Olivares


185 sq m

Two months

Furniture and lighting

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