Furniture design

Hervet Manufacturier defines the ‘retro-future’ of wooden furniture

The French furniture brand channels four generations of woodworking expertise into a futuristic collection inspired by ’60s sci-fi flicks.

It’s no wonder Hervet Manufacturier’s design collection is dubbed “The Art of Space”. The retro-futuristic pieces feel otherworldly with their widely angled silhouettes and Sputnik-inspired details. Reminiscent of cult sci-fi movies, tables, chairs, desks, lights, and other cosmically stylish objets d’art, take inspiration from mid-century modernism and its obsession with the future.

The collection features mostly woodworked furniture. After all, the Paris-based brand was co-founded by cousins Nicolas Hervet, who has received repeated honors in woodworking, marquetry, and sculpture, and Cédric Hervet, who worked as creative director to the legendary musical duo Daft Punk (which explains the aesthetic). Both come from a long line of carpenters and craftsmen. ​​

Hevet Manufacturier - furnitures
Hervet Manufacturier’s design collection features retro-futuristic pieces that feel otherworldly with their widely angled silhouettes and Sputnik-inspired details – ©Hervet Manufacturier

The pair started working together in 2008, when Nicolas created a custom desk for Cédric made of white lacquer and black leather. Designed to accommodate post-production work, all the tape desks and hard drives were hidden inside the desk with only a series of ports visible.

It reflected the perfect collaboration between the two cousins and had all the futuristic lines that would go onto define their aesthetic when they founded Hervet Manufacturier in 2014. 

Hevet Manufacturier - production

Now, they design each piece together before sketches, 3D models and a materials strategy—comprising various different woods, glass, leather, and metals—are sent to the family’s atelier in Normandy, France to be constructed by hand.

They are either made-to-order or in limited editions of 12, which are numbered and signed. For decorative objects like skateboards and champagne buckets, the studio creates 100 units. Inspiration is aplenty and every piece tells its own story.

Find out more about designers who create space-inspired products, don’t miss Is Space Age design making a comeback?.

Hevet Manufacturier - Arcadia

The Arcadia arcade games console is one of its most iconic pieces, a “totem of 80s pop culture” with an integrated catalog of 3,000 8-bit video game titles, including Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders. It’s a luxurious throwback expressed in Paldao veneer finished with a natural wax finish. The sound is delivered with an integrated Bose Soundtouch audio system.

Hervet’s obvious area of expertise is wood. All of its workers are graduates in cabinetmaking, marquetry and sculpture, a crucial part of the production process that leads to stunning pieces like the Président desk with full-grain leather-lined drawers, solid stainless-steel handles, and a variety of optional veneers—including Limba sourced from Côte D’Ivoire, Indonesian Macassar Ebony, Australian Eucalyptus and European Olive Tree.

Hevet Manufacturier - President desk
The Président desk features full-grain leather-lined drawers, solid stainless-steel handles, and a variety of optional veneers – ©Hervet Manufacturier

Other pieces take inspiration from Japanese manga comics, cult movies of the decade, and space. They include Astrolux, a standing lamp that looks like a spaceship, Spootnik, a satellite-inspired audio installation, and Audiosatt, a wooden vessel enclosing a Bose sound system that references Star Wars.

A fan favourite is the Platinum foosball table for obvious reasons, which features a Zebrano and Brazilian Rosewood construction with stainless steel and aluminum hardware. The piece was born from the pair’s childhood memories of pretend space play.

Hevet Manufacturier - Astrolux
Astrolux is a standing lamp that looks like a spaceship – ©Hervet Manufacturier

It’s a nostalgia-induced mood board that has attracted an impressive roster of clients, from carmaker Peugeot, with whom it helped to define its futuristic e-legend concept, to pop-up stores for Chinese retail company Lane Crawford. Earlier this year, it also lent its aesthetic to Club Cassio in Hong Kong with custom-made furniture, lighting and a DJ booth that Cédric describes as a “spaceship that landed on the dancefloor.”

And of course, Hervet Manufacturier has worked with Daft Punk in the past too. In 2015, it created a Formica-covered skateboard in beechwood that was themed around the musical duo’s instrumental track “Da Funk”. Fun fact, since the group’s split, the electronic music duo’s Thomas Bangalter has captured the studio’s visuals as its photographer.

How did space exploration influence product design? Don’t miss A brief history of Space Age design.

Hevet Manufacturier - Patinium side view
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