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Mod—ern Man Design—Mind

Article by Dana Lapinel

Photography by Poppy + Co.

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

Harvey Hine. Does it ring a bell? It’s the quintessential name for an actor, singer, writer. Or maybe if you guessed a jewelry designer—you’d be half right.

I walked into HMH Architecture + Interiors looking to meet with Harvey Hine, co-principal with fellow Architect Cherie Goff, and discuss the 30 year legacy of HMH and its design practices. I walked out with a mini philosophy lesson about modern architecture, a definition of “Colorado Modern,” and, most importantly, a little more insight into a man known as an architect but who is also a jeweler, skier, father, husband and left-handed.

Back to this jewelry topic. Out of all the questions during the interview, ‘do you do anything creative outside of architecture?’ was intended to be fluff. I wasn’t expecting to get the meat of the story from this playful question. Well, it happens to be an essential detail. Harvey doesn’t romanticize his career. He doesn’t describe a real “ah ha” moment when he knew he wanted to pursue architecture.

Yes, he grew up in Vienna surrounded by beautiful buildings from Roman times on up to Bauhaus modern design, but the architecture was just something he “couldn’t help but notice.” (In his high school years, ladies and motorcycles are what caught his eye.) What did keep coming up in the interview was jewelry—his minor in college—and ultimately what got his architecture career going.

After moving from Vienna to Boulder to attend CU and then graduating with an Environmental Design Degree (prereq. for architecture), he worked a few years before applying to continue his education. He applied to Harvard because of pressure from his father and didn’t think he’d get in. Here’s the kicker, his portfolio showcased his silversmith jewelry designs, which was so unique he did get in.

“Even though architecture and jewelry making are divergent, my architecture career really took off because of the jewelry,” says Harvey. “They are good complimentary design skills.” 

Even post-collegiate, architecture wasn’t the design profession that stuck out the most. What Harvey did know, was that design was in his nature.

“After college, there was a 50% chance I would be a jeweler. I also liked car and motorcycle design. I had to pick a direction, so I decided that I would stick with architecture and not quit until I was licensed. Then I could change professions if I wanted to. I guess that I never left,” Harvey recalls.

Not only did he not leave, but he’s also created a 30-year legacy of modern design in a foreign land of log cabins and imported architectural styles. His firm coined “Colorado Modern Architecture” where modern is a philosophy—not a style. It reflects where we are in the age of technology and the unique environment we live in. (For example, blue skies and mountain views call for large windows to enjoy the view.)

In 1989 when Harvey launched his firm, he was a modern-enthusiast, and at that time, it wasn’t all the rage. In fact,

“I think architecture was lost during the 90s,” Harvey laughs. “It really was.”

It was lost in a sea of what was trending at the time—McMansions, traditional homes. HMH found a niche in modern. Then, about ten years ago “modern” became the poster child—in glossy magazines and firms who specialized in McMansions—now everyone wanted a piece of the pie. Today there’s more competition and business but, “In a way, it’s not as special as it used to be,” says Harvey.

And that statement …that mentality is what makes Harvey and his team artists. Instead of focusing on growth and profit—they concentrate on architecture. They believe the quality of the design is more important than volume, profit or recognition. And it was thanks to Cherie Goff— who started with HMH in 2004 and became Principal in 2008—who redirected the firm to stop taking on traditional projects and focus on what they do best, modern.

Which leaves us with Harvey's self-proclaimed weakness and gift that makes this designer tick: not being able to do the same thing twice.

“I don’t do a thing the way it’s supposed to be done. That’s not my behavior. I don’t follow the norms. I don’t even sign my name the same way twice. It’s been good for the architecture … always looking at something in a new way.”

“We don’t need to be conformist. We’re not going against anything, we just don’t have to go the same direction as everyone else,” says Harvey