Inside the Creation of HMM

Inside the Creation of HMM

 Here are five Q&A to help you get to know us better.


1. Who composes the HMM team, and what inspired each member’s career in product design?

HMM, founded in 2014, is approaching its 10th anniversary. It originated as a small unit spun off from Minimax, a company with over 20 years in the advertising design and marketing services industry. While Minimax provided services such as corporate identity, graphics, websites, animation, and videos, co-founders Michael and Qmore believed in the potential to create physical industrial products under a brand they loved, leading to the birth of HMM.

The team, initially equipped with diverse backgrounds in advertising, digital, graphics, and marketing, was set on a path defined by a member with product design expertise. This established the foundational design ethos of HMM, characterized by industrial aesthetics, simplicity, creativity, and functionality. Despite the challenges, the team embraced the learning process, driven by a passion for improvement and making things right.

Operating out of the heart of Taipei City, a vibrant and evolving metropolis, HMM benefits from an environment rich with inspiration. The small, efficient team thrives on strong communication, leveraging each member's unique strengths and backgrounds to drive innovation and excellence in their products.


2. Who are your biggest influences  in the field of product design?

In the realm of design, we continuously draw inspiration from various sources across different industries. We value the teachings of classic masters while endeavoring to maintain our distinct brand identity. This delicate balance allows us to evolve creatively while staying true to our unique brand equity. 


Naoto Fukasawa is a renowned Japanese product designer and the go-to designer for Muji. His designs are known for their simplicity and functionality, characterized by the "Without Thinking" philosophy, which emphasizes intuitive and straightforward everyday design.


Tadao Ando didn't receive formal architectural education; he only worked for a brief period in an architectural firm. After graduating from high school, he joined the Semi Mode study group, where he independently learned skills such as interior design and drafting through various channels. Ando established his personal style focusing on exposed concrete and geometric shapes, which garnered acclaim worldwide.


Jasper Morrison was born in London, England. Morrison is the lead designer at boutique Swiss consumer technology company Punkt. He has also collaborated with the Japanese retail company MUJI on a variety of products ranging from houseware to housing.


3. How do you balance aesthetics and functionality in your designs?

Creating products with a specific design language is challenging. We appreciate simplicity, modernity, and a light industrial look, and we strive to express our identity through our unique designs. Our design philosophy follows two directions: classic looks with simple functions, like our Ballpoint Pen, Mugr, Working Mat… and highly creative ideas with multifunctional aspects, like our standing Scissors with a box-opener tip and Utility Knife… We aim to incorporate additional functionality and excitement into our products while maintaining cost efficiency, which is crucial given the higher manufacturing costs in Taiwan.

Our development process involves continuous rethinking and prototyping, balancing aesthetics and functionality. We frequently create 3D prototypes, sometimes making over 20 small samples for a single product. For instance, while we prefer straight corners, we experiment with slightly rounded edges to enhance comfort without compromising the design's visual appeal.


4. How do sustainability and environmental considerations influence your work?

W Glass, one of our renowned products, is crafted from recycled glass. Around 2016, we attended a seminar by Spring Pool Glass, Taiwan's largest and one of the world's leading recycled glass manufacturers. Their talk on sustainability and their decades-long recycled business deeply inspired us. We were eager to collaborate with them, and in 2018, we met a key person from Spring Pool Glass at a design award event. This led to the creation of W Glass.

From the start of our product design journey, we have prioritized environmental responsibility. We've experimented with various materials such as ceramic, wood, vegan leather, glass, paper, aluminum, and brass, selecting them with care. For our packaging, we predominantly use paper materials. Ensuring sustainability throughout the entire process is challenging, but we strive to make the best choices available.


5. How do you measure the success of your designs beyond their commercial performance?

We're committed to designing what we believe in and love. Over the years, we've explored various ideas, sometimes aiming to cater to what we thought most customers would prefer. However, we've realized the importance of staying true to our design philosophy and values. By doing so, we maintain a clear vision and a cohesive body of work.

We regularly participate in international exhibitions and are thrilled that our designs are well-received by peers in the design community. Our products have garnered numerous design awards, including the prestigious "Best Overall Collection" at NYNOW 2019 in New York City, which was a significant honor for us.

Sticking to our core principles hasn't always been easy, but we've decided to focus on our design strengths and continue creating innovative products. This dedication helps us stay on course, confident in the direction we're heading.



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