Photography: Adrianna Glaviano

Join us from the comfort of your home as we go behind the scenes with Chen Chen & Kai Williams, the design duo behind The Phalanx - sculpture commission for Hem’s New York Studio. Follow our January visit to their creative space in Brooklyn, and have a peek behind the scenes as they make one of Hems most impressive spatial installations yet.



Chen Chen & Kai Williams is a design studio that explores materials and new ways to use them. They invent new techniques and materials or diverts common industrial supplies to off-label applications. Working with them for the New York space continues Hem’s tradition of introducing bespoke art pieces to their physical locations around the world.



For the finalization of the Hem New York Studio, we commissioned design studio Chen Chen & Kai Williams to create a dedicated sculpture for the space — The Phalanx. Follow us as we visit them in their creative space in Brooklyn and have a peek behind the scenes as they make one of Hems most impressive spatial installations yet.



The installation stands nearly 10 feet tall and comprises 20 mirrored panels. Each individual panel is created by pouring a thin layer of silver nitrate over a pane of glass, leaving the silver’s raw edges visible on the clear surface. The panels are then assorted on a tall, easel-like steel structure, creating a multi-dimensional grid of semi-opaque mirrors, which can be angled to alter the reflection being captured and shift as one moves around the piece. Emblematic of Chen Chen & Kai William’s conceptual and experimental approach, the resulting piece appears both delicate and industrial, like a deconstructed skyscraper.



“We have known Petrus and Hem for years and have long been trying to find a way to work together,” said Chen Chen and Kai Williams in regards to the piece. “When Petrus came to us about this project, we all agreed it was important that it not be mistaken as something from Hem’s collection so aesthetically we were looking for something a little more raw. We ended up with this rough, scaffold-like structure which has a real dichotomy with Hem’s furniture.”


The Phalanx are a permanent installation at our Hem New York Studio and we look forward to welcoming you there as soon as possible.