Henrik Holm, founder of Arthur Holm, on crafting a niche

Mexican Senate, Mexico City, equipped with customised Arthur Holm Dynamic2 monitors
Mexican Senate, Mexico City, equipped with customised Dynamic2 monitors

Selling the nuances of integrated furniture design to the high end corporate market is not without its challenges, as Charlotte Ashley learns speaking to Henrik Holm, the founder of Arthur Holm.

For corporate specialist Arthur Holm, its distinctive focus on design is fundamental to its success.  “For many,  functionality is the main focus and if it looks nice  too  that’s  a  bonus,  but we concentrate on  creating designs to complement  the  most recognised designers and furniture manufacturers in the world,” explains Henrik Holm, creator and CEO of Arthur Holm, sister company of Albiral Display Solutions.

“When  we  are  dealing  with  a  boardroom table  that  is  maybe  £100,000,  the  finishing will  be  fantastic,  and  we  as  a  manufacturer have to match that,” he adds, reflecting on the company’s  range  of  motorised  and  retractable offerings. This ethos has its roots in the 1960s and an approach to design and ergonomics cultivated by designer Jorgen Alex Jenson, now maintained by his family and spearheaded by Henrik.  “The inspiration definitely comes from my father, and the environment I grew up in,” says Henrik. “The typical Scandinavian design is epitomised by a certain timeless quality we try to engineer.”

“Today we cannot avoid having technology in our meeting rooms and buildings, but it’s important to remove any obstructions between us and other people.”

An export engineer by trade with a background in  AV,  Holm  may  not  be  schooled  in  design, yet  the  culture  of  design  runs  throughout the company’s 45-person strong team. With no standard  time-frame  for  product  development, the  company  relies  on  pooling  its  expertise and  reacting  to  environments.  Integral  to  this is  designers  familiarising  themselves  with  every corner  of  any  possible  boardroom  or  other corporate  environment  (receptions,  hotels) to scope angles, visibility and how to best facilitate one-to-one  communication when technology is  not in use.  “Today we cannot avoid having technology in our meeting rooms and buildings - technology is everywhere,” says Holm. “But it’s important to remove any obstructions between us and other people.”

Aluminium,  glass  and  stainless  steel  are  used to  craft  products,  with special attention paid to keeping both dimensions and hazing (on screens) to a minimum. Holm notes that as things move slower in the professional side of electronics compared to the consumer side, it’s critical for them to construct products with the lifespan to match a boardroom table – potentially up to 15 years.

headshot of Henrik Holm, CEO and founder of Arthur HolmYet delivering these products to large businesses is not without its challenges. Around 50% of the company’s work comes from custom requests, and client expectations mean project time-frames are a constant struggle. “We spend a lot of time on projects that can be years, and sometimes the day that the customer finally decides on something, they wanted it yesterday. That has an effect on the whole installation.”

The hurdle often preceding this can be educating the  company  itself  on  the  value  of  investing  in motorised  monitors,  a  tablet  lift  or  retractable microphone  brings  to  a  space.  Holm admits companies either ‘get it’ or don’t, usually depending on how long they have been in the industry. “Companies who are new in the business need to get traction and will put in calls to get dealers to get the company running, but in the long run-term they find that the solutions are not perfect.”

“It  seems  like  the  markets  are  getting  better now, but still people would like to go first-class, but only want to pay economy class,” says Holm. “Not everyone sees the lifespan of the product, instead they just see the profit at that time, and not the renovation of their company in the future.” Looking ahead, Holm adds that it’s essential to keep boardrooms as clutter-free as possible to ensure productive workspaces.