Magazine Contact #27 - Magazine - About us - Concept Wiesner-Hager
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What’s on your desk, Henry Steiner?

Magazine Contact #27

“Here, we work on three floors without a lift, and believe me, that keeps you fit!“ Henry Steiner climbs the stairs up to the first floor, where he has his personal office, and sits on one of the two black steel tubular chairs. “What can I do for you?” The youthful charm of the distinguished, elegantly dressed 84-year-old will bowl you over.

Born in Austria and emigrated to New York during the Second World War and finally stranded in Hong Kong, the graphic artist is one of the most important and influential graphic designers in the world. Many visual identities for companies, businesses and international groups have emerged from his aging office on Conduit Street, one of the best addresses in the city. Some of his most famous designs are the IBM lettering, the Hilton and Hyatt logos, the unmistakable Unilever U as well as the logo used by Hong Kong Shanghai banking corporation HSBC for more than 30 years. Some monetary notes which have been in circulation for decades were also drafted at this desk.

Wojciech Czaja, visiting Henry Steiner

© Dustin Shum

1. I have no idea where the desk came from. It’s just a completely normal office desk. I’ll be honest, I have no real connection to modern furniture.

2. The single exception to this is the swivel chair. Since I spent a lot of time sitting, the chair must be comfortable and ergonomic.

3. As it appears, all graphic designers work with Apple computers. I do too.

4. The best pen-holder of all time is still an empty tin can, or in this case, a can of macadamia nuts.

5. I love to surround myself with classics and tubular furniture.

6. There is probably no better desk than the Adjustable Table by Eileen Gray.

7. An old project desk which came to me one day. If I need large surfaces to work, the cover can just be rolled to one side

8. I am a passionate collector. I collect toys, cans, bottles, shells, eggs, egg cups, radios, ventilators, rubber ducks, singing plastic frogs and so on. I collect out of sentimentality and amusement. These things make me happy

9. The sculpture is from a friend of mine.

10. The bookshelve full of books and objects is less an expression of comfort than one of necessity. I have been living in a hotel since 1999. There isn’t much space there. This is why everything ends up here in the office sooner or later.

11. An ode to my adopted home of Hong Kong

 

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