Kristof Hock knew there was a better way of doing things. Years ago—while working as a product manager in the fitness industry—he would visit Nantong, China to meet with manufacturers. He remembers the polluted air and the bedraggled workforce—mainstays of the city that produces most of the world’s affordable fitness equipment. In pursuit of a more sustainable model, Hock formulated the idea for a range of high-end equipment that better reflected his vision.
Hock Design is built around the idea that good things take time. Even when working with some of the best craftsmen in Germany, it was difficult to create beautiful products that were sufficiently durable. As Hock explains, “It took almost three years to create a design that would support the enormous weight that the Pector push-up bars must be able to hold while still remaining true to our brand’s desire to hide construction details.” The result of all that research and design is a push-up bar that would feel at home in a design museum.
When asked about the current trend of recreating heritage products, Hock maintains that his vision is purely forward-thinking. “Rather than being influenced by historic gym equipment, we are motivated by our capacity to revolutionize fitness equipment for future use.“ An apt example of this mentality lies in the Loft rack. The dumbbell set features elegantly curved and polished weighted ends that are held together with walnut handles. The weights practically float in ascending vertical order, looking like props from a sci-fi blockbuster.
And the company isn’t afraid of coming across as aspirational, either. Hock Design went as far as to create an 18 carat gold version of the Loft dumbbell. With a kilo of gold per dumbbell, the pair rings up at a price tag of €99,000. The investment pieces—limited to 50 sets—are a statement against disposability.
With rare exception, the entire range of Hock Design products are composed exclusively from four materials. From Germany, the company sources food-grade stainless steel, aircraft-grade aluminum and leather for the jump ropes. They also use additional leather from Italy and walnut from North America. The consistency of material is part of what makes the brand identity so unshakeable; moreover, it’s a testament to their commitment to quality.
Hock Design’s Robusto looks like a cigar-shaped paperweight, which is part of the appeal. Crafted both in walnut and leather, the light handheld weights are used for toning exercises or jogging. The handy ergonomics and natural form give this product a one-up over the competition—in that it’s something you might actually use.
Making a product that people want to pick up again and again is sort of the essential quandary for fitness products. After all, few things are more loathed in the popular memory than a jump rope. But when looking at the Rotator speed rope, there’s something about the walnut handles and sleek bearings that just beg a turn or two. Using it, you start to feel like a million-dollar prize fighter, training with a natural leather speed rope fit for Ali himself.
“When designing our collections, we don’t limit ourselves by pursuing trends. Instead, we create each of our products to be iconic,” explains Hock. Again and again, the notion of creating a lifestyle creeps into what his company aims to do. As Hock puts it, “Life is too short and too valuable to surround yourself with toxin-filled products such as rubber, PVC and chromed iron.”
Images courtesy of Hock Design