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© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Kim Hoffmann Photograph Collection
1937-1980 (bulk 1949-1960)
 PR 77

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Jenny Gotwals

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on December 13, 2011
Description is in English.

Biographical Note

Joachim Hoffmann (February 22, 1908 - November 7, 1995) was born in Bremerhaven, Germany, and studied law and modern design for three years at the University of Berlin. He left Germany for Paris in 1933, where he practiced interior design for several years. In Paris Hoffmann began to work with the German interior designer Paul Bry; both men relocated to New York in the 1930s. Upon his arrival in New York City, Hoffman worked under the name Jo Kim as a designer and an art photographer both on his own and with Bry. Hoffmann's association with Bry dissolved in 1945, and he began a partnership with Stephen Heidrich in 1946.

Stephen Heidrich (March 22, 1891? - June 1972?) was born in Connecticut but educated in New York. While a high school student, he was awarded the Pierre St. Godin Medal for fine draftsmanship, and received a scholarship to Pratt Institute. He served in the U. S. Army during World War II. Upon his return to New York, Heidrich worked with interior designer Alfons Bach and then with celebrated decorator Dorothy Draper before forming the firm of Hoffmann and Heidrich.

In 1946 Hoffmann and Heidrich set up shop at 225 East 57th Street, and began doing interior design work for both commercial and residential clients. The majority of their designs were for New York City businesses and apartments, with some for larger homes in the surrounding suburban areas, and a few for commercial firms in Connecticut and Delaware. In addition to interior design work, Hoffmann and Heidrich designed display units for stores, and also designed furnishings and accessories for a variety of product lines and manufacturers.

Hoffmann and Heidrich favored a clean, uncluttered modern aesthetic. Their interiors were not dissimilar to those created by more high-end design firms at the same time. Their furniture, made for New York apartment living, was functional yet sleek. For example, tables were able to serve as both tables and benches. Their space-saving closet racks were popular. Both men were fine artists, interested in incorporating contemporary artwork into their residential designs. Both were also members of the American Institute of Designers.

Hoffmann and Heidrich's designs and interiors were featured in local and national newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times and  Vogue, and the two often wrote articles about their designs for trade publications. By 1953 the pair were design consultants for several publications in the United States, Argentina, France, and London. In later years Hoffman gave public talks on interior design and aesthetics and taught several classes at the New School for Social Research.

Stephen Heidrich died in 1972. Hoffmann gradually stopped being an active interior designer. As late as 1980, however, he was corresponding with companies about manufacturing products to his specifications. Hoffmann died in New York City in 1995.