Over the past decade, the image of British design has undergone a radical transformation. Widely acclaimed for their originality, resourcefulness, and openness to new ideas, talented young British designers have become a flourishing export commodity, increasingly sought after by foreign companies, from Europe to as far afield as Japan.
One of the ambassadors of this renaissance is the industrial designer Sam Hecht . In 2002, he co-founded Industrial Facility, a small design studio in London, together with Kim Colin , an academic and architect. Hecht established his reputation with the multinational design organization IDEO, first in their San Francisco office, then in Tokyo (where he collaborated with the prominent Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa), and finally as IDEO's Head of Design in London. In the same period he led the designing of electronic devices for Prada's New York store, as well as designing the economy cabin of Airbus A380, Airbus Industrie's ambitious new aircraft. Kim Colin, a graduate of UCLA and SCI-Arc in Los Angeles, came to London in 1997, first working as a commissioning editor for Phaidon Press and then teaching architecture at the Architectural Association and the Royal College of Art.
Under the umbrella Found / Made / Thought , the work of Industrial Facility focuses on an emerging trend for a more critical approach to the practice of design. Valuing their independence, Hecht and Colin combine their creative energy in both commissioned and self-generated projects. It is their rigorous approach to developing products that makes the design practice of Industrial Facility unique. For them, "clarity and purpose are inseparable from idea and form."
Since the inception of Industrial Facility, most of its work has been with foreign companies from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. The designers work in the vanguard of change, exploring new ideas, industrial processes, and materials that not only reduce manufacturing costs but also add value and cultural meaning to domestic products. A striking feature of the products is their minimalism, achieved by ensuring the absence of any superfluity in design: every detail is there for a reason, serving some need. Thriving at the cutting edge of technology, Industrial Facility's innovative designs revolve around ideas and values. As Hecht says, "I try to bring back reasoning as an alternative to the style palette."
For Hecht and Colin, it makes no sense to think of an object as an isolated abstraction. An object is not important in itself; it only acquires meaning from its relationship with its environment, emerging as a natural consequence of it. Hence the two fundamental ideas that have stood at the basis of Industrial Facility since its beginnings: the recognition that industrial design does not exist in isolation but only in relation with its surroundings; and the appreciation that design is as much an intellectual endeavor as it is a vocational one.