Posts Tagged ‘design’

HEY, ma, look at this HEMA site!

March 12, 2008

I am not one to go gaga over websites, but promise me you’ll check this one out. On-line ad from Dutch department store HEMAHet is uitstekend! That’s “it is outstanding!” in Dutch. It’s a shopping site for the ubiquitous Dutch department store HEMA, pronounced HEY-ma. You’ll see its products do the most creative Rube Goldbergian song and dance imagineable. If you haven’t looked yet, do it! And don’t forget to turn on the volume!

The site was passed along to me by Karen Richards in Boston, who has fed me more Where they Went ideas than anyone ever. Karen sent this by way of her friend Nancy Shepard. I wrote about a trip they and friends took, with kids in tow, to Holland in 2002.

logo of Dutch department store HEMAHEMA is known for offering affordable modern products with a touch of design (read, Target) that carry the chain’s name. The first store opened in 1926 in Amsterdam and there are now HEMA shops in Belgium, Luxemburg, and Germany. You can imagine the Dutchies’ shock last year when the company was sold to the British investment company Lion Capital. But if this website, created by Dutch ad agency CCCP, is how they’re spending their money, they can’t be all bad. On the flip side, as mod as the site is, customers have to pick up the products in person at a store. That’s gotta change!

Another cool thing about HEMA that Wessel noticed is it organizes a yearly design contest for university students. A very cool dynamic site shows the 2007 winners, while a more static one lists presents them in more organized fashion. The most famous student design, from 1989/1990, is for a whistling kettle called Le Lapin, or the rabbit.

HEMA in Emmen, The NetherlandsWhen I was in Leiden in 2005 for three weeks to study Dutch (I would say to learn Dutch, but I’m not sure that transpired), HEMA was the first store I visited. My pal Victor Benard took me there in search of two items I was desperate for — a plug adapter for my laptop and a fan to drown out the noise from the busy street below my rented room. HEMA had them both. Hoera!

As Karen says, “it always tickles me that in Dutch a shop is called a winkel! It’s a word I can’t say without laughing!” Ik ook, Karen. I agree. Hmmm …. I guess I did learn some Dutch after all!