The Hille furniture company was started in the East End of London in 1906 by Salamon Hille, a Russian immigrant, to renovate and reproduce eighteenth-century furniture.
By the 1930’s the company had established an international reputation supplying products all over the world. Salamon’s daughter, Ray, subsequently joined and took over the reins of the business in 1932, with Hille becoming a Limited company that year under her leadership.
The company overcame several lows and recovered from the Second World War and the 50’s financial crisis, partly by developing their export sales.
It was Ray’s son in law Leslie Julius, who made contact with designer Robin Day in 1949. In addition to designing nearly all of Hille’s products for the next twenty years, Day also took over the visual end of Hille’s business.
Robin Day will of course be most famously remembered for his best selling product, the Polypropylene chair, which was marketed by Ray’s second daughter after she too, joined the company in 1961, as the head of marketing.
To put the success of Day’s polyprop chair designs into context it is estimated that some 14 million chairs have been sold and continue to be sold at a rate of 500,000 units a year.
In 1961 Hille opened its new offices designed by Hungarian-born modernist architect Ernö Goldfinger.
In 1983 Hille was sold by the family, and the company continued to work with Robin Day to bring to the market more classics.
Hille’s focus on affordable quality has been carried forward as well as the desire to work with innovative designers.