The Story of Ham & Lerche: Functionality, simple living and experience design
Boy meets girl. Sparks fly. Boy is courageous, girl is creative. Both are entrepreneurs. They start something together. She gets the ideas and he adds sense and realism. She is the talented crafts(wo)man, he is the stout businessman. In short, that is the story of Alexander Skaarup Kristensen and Line Lerche and their Aarhus-based brand Ham & Lerche . Alexander is Ham (him in English red.) Line is Lerche.
Their private life and their business are entwined and in that sense it seems natural that their entrepreneurial adventure were triggered by a Christmas present from Line to Alexander. “I gave him the first proto type of our Dopp kit for toiletries and we quickly agreed that it was an interesting project, that could really develop into something,” Line says.
Simple Living & Experience design
The connection between Ham & Lerche’s personal and professional spheres is evident in their creative process and designs as well. Their designs are all developed through an approach that the couple has named ‘simple living’. ‘Simple living’ is a result of the two having lived on a rather limited amount of square feet for years, which has led them to focus on functionality and simplicity in their designs. “Our own lack of space has made us cut to the bone and ask ourselves how much we really need? Because of this the philosophy for our work goes something like this – If we are in need of this others probably are as well,” Alexander explains.
Ham & Lerche describe their products as experience designs. The concept of experience design really encapsulates the simple living approach. “When a design has more uses than you would assume at first sight, it is impressive, surprising and awakes joy,” Alexander says. Multifunctionality is key when it comes to simple living and experience design. That is why Ham & Lerche strive to create designs that are simple and have multiple functions. “Take our MacBook folder for instance. In its purest form it is a stylish sleeve for your computer. But it also has room for important papers, pens, business cards and your calendar,” Line elaborates.
That is the visions of Ham & Lerche. Simple living and experience design achieved through multifunctionality, minimalism and simplicity.
Leather, leather and leather
Take a look at Ham & Lerche’s designs and you will soon discover that they are a one-material-kind-a-brand and that material is leather. The choice of material stems from a long time fascination of leathered goods and it is a material that especially Line felt a need to explore. At first this fascination of leather translated into a state of awe for Line, who, despite a background in fashion and textile, had never worked in this classic material. “Honestly, it was pretty scary to try and conquer an unfamiliar material, because you simply don’t know how your ideas are going to pan out,” Line says.
Line is in awe no more. Leather has been tamed. Her trained hands now skillfully and with experience shape the designs of Ham & Lerche and this has given the couple an urge to develop and expand. Long term it is their goal to include other materials in their designs and through this create a strong idiom and strong aesthetics. In this process they know where to look for inspiration, “We’ve always had admiration towards HAY. The way they are able to include a multitude of different directions and ideas, as long as it fits with their overall philosophy and design language”, Alexander says.
Oh, the ambitions…
As far as future plans and ambitions goes, Line and Alexander want more than just an expansion in their choice of material. The plan is to enter the international design scene and the first steps are already taken. With costumers from all over the world already buying their designs, not wanting more would seem absurd. Our international dreams are also the reason why we decided to become part of the ENIITO-marketplace. It is another opportunity to reach a new and bigger audience,” as Alexander puts it. Furthermore, these aspirations have led Ham & Lerche to make a clear cut decision to use the English language on all of their communication channels and to actively contact foreign media outlets.
Great ambitions and a homepage and social media-profiles in English, however, are not enough to catapult a brand onto the international design stage. Ham & Lerche are very aware of this. But their skillful craftsmanship and their Nordic style of design just might make the cut. Nordic design is in high demand outside of Scandinavia and Alexander and Line seem to know what it is that makes Scandinavian design special and coveted abroad. “What makes the Nordic style so special is, that in comparison to the style of a lot countries and regions across the world, it has a very raw, natural and minimalistic expression. The designs have great durability and it just seems to work. Plain and simple,” the couple simultaneously concludes.
You can buy more Ham & Lerche designs at our shop right here .