British designer Benjamin Hubert often exhibits his furniture by taking the pieces apart. Chair frame, seat, backrest. Lamp shade, base, stem.
The meticulously laid out wall-mounted displays reveal the elements making up his minimal but sensuous designs for interior brands such as Poltrona Frau, Moroso and Herman Miller. The layers are there for all to see.
It’s a reflection of Hubert’s process-driven approach to industrial design: the materials he uses (cork, concrete, leather, plywood) and the way they join together determine their application.
His is a distinctive approach that has been called on by more and more high-profile brands, taking him beyond the interiors industry. Now, after five years of running his eponymous North London studio, he has launched a multidisciplinary agency called Layer.
Led by Hubert and a growing creative team, Layer’s work focuses on experiential design for both the physical and digital worlds. The new venture will be officially launched at Design Junction at the London Design Festival which kicks off on 19 September.
‘It is time for the business to evolve and represent more than just my point of view,’ Hubert says. ‘To reflect our multi-layered, research-led approach, we are now Layer.’
The practice adds a broader set of tools to its industrial design roots: mechanical and electrical engineering, user experience design, user interaction design, branding and human-centred research.
While the company will continue its innovative work in furniture, it has now expanded into consumer electronics, domestic goods, mobility and apps. It has already created experiences for some of the world’s most influential brands including Nike, Samsung, Braun, Oral B, Aesop, BMW, Panasonic, Herman Miller and Fritz Hansen.
Social responsibility is another focus. ‘The studio is also increasingly focusing on projects that […] explore ways that design can be used as a tool to create “change not just chairs”. This takes the form of collaborations with not-for-profit organisations, studio-initiated projects and projects with like-minded commercial partners.’
We look forward to watching Hubert’s growth trajectory.