Where I Work: Benjamin Hubert of LAYER

Just in case you’re not familiar with the work of Benjamin Hubert, revisit our archives and you’ll get a sense of his aesthetic and design legacy, as well as LAYER’s. LAYER is the London-based industrial design agency that Hubert founded in 2015 after rebranding himself with a focus on the human experience and high performance. His growing team of 20 is working out of a brand new studio space that spans 3,500 square of a warehouse in Hackney. The flexible interior was designed by LAYER themselves and houses a mixtures of creatives – researchers, industrial designers, UI/UX digital designers, engineers, brand and graphic designers. One of the most memorable aspects are a series of built-in display boxes they use to showcase new products when they launch. In this month’s Where I Work, Hubert takes us through the new space to get a sense of how he and his team of creatives make it all happen.

What is your typical work style?

The normal work day starts early around 7.30, 8am before everyone gets in where I can focus on the day ahead and think through all the projects and do some sketching, too. Then we work intensively until around 7pm.

What’s your studio/work environment like?

Loud music, people chatting, breakout spaces – everyone works together and eats together.

How is your office organized/arranged?

Please see the photos.

How long have you been in this space? Where did you work before that?

We have been here since September 2016. We previously worked in a smaller studio in an old curtain pole factory.

If you could change something about your workspace, what would it be?

We have only just finished the renovation so nothing (yet!), but we will need more desk space very soon.

Is there an office pet?


How do you record ideas?

In my A4 unlined Moleskine – I have a shelf full of dozens of them and typically go through 1 every 2 weeks.

Do you have an inspiration board? What’s on it right now?

We have a wall full of material samples and components of products at the end of the desk area.

What is your creative process and/or creative workflow like? Does it change every project or do you keep it the same?

The process is adapted for each project but typically we run big workshop ideation, sessions at the start and invite the client to be part of, do ethnographic research studies by interviewing and talking to users. This helps us find insights to define opportunities and market space. Then we move into sketching, model making CAD, etc.

What kind of design objects might you have scattered about the space?

Our shelves are lined with hundreds of models, prototypes and factory samples.

Are there tools and/or machinery in your space?

We have a hand tool workshop and below our space is a huge machine shop we use for more involving prototypes and rigs.

What tool do you most enjoy using in the design process?

Our brains, getting good people together to think through problems to identify game changing opportunities.

Let’s talk about how you’re wired. Tell us about your tech arsenal/devices.

We have banks of both PC’s and Macs running most software.

Is there a favorite project you’ve worked on?

Always the current project, we are working on some really exciting things at present so it is difficult to choose – we are working a lot in tech so the hardware and software projects are super interesting right now. We enjoyed the wheelchair project GO we worked on recently, too.

Do you feel like you’ve “made it”? What has made you feel like you’ve become successful? At what moment/circumstances? Or what will it take to get there?

We are very much still on the path to becoming the agency I have in mind – we are fortunate though to have a really hardworking and talented team here at LAYER that are helping to deliver on some great projects, which is also helping the growth of the studio.

Tell us about a current project you’re working on. What was the inspiration behind it?

We are excited about the future of IOT and wearables and their convergence right now – it is a rapidly moving space and we are developing a number of new tools to change the way we live and how tech aids that.

Do you have anything in your home that you’ve designed/created?

My home is full of all the prototypes from projects – a lot of lamps, tables and chairs! (a few too many I think!)

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.