design, Q&A

Q&A with… Freyja Sewell

Portrait Image Freyja Sewell credit Carol Sachs

Portrait Image Freyja Sewell credit Carol Sachs

I met Freyja for the first time last week when I stumbled upon her stall at the House of Detention at Clerkenwell Design Week, where she was exhibiting her latest piece of work, a wool felt cocoon designed as a personal retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. In fact, it was her two leopard-print boots I met first, as they stuck out of her felt cocoon and I peered into the darkness to ask if the occupier within was her. As a Designer in Residence at the Design Museum last year, and having spotted her work at Selfridges recently for their No Noise Campaign, I was intrigued to find out more about ‘Hush’ and the design process behind it.

HUSH by Freyja Sewell woman sleeping

What was the inspiration behind Hush?

It’s kinda hard to pinpoint exactly where it started, because it came I think from that childhood sense of hiding, I used to like hiding in my mum’s drawers and cupboards and things. So when I began to be interested in sketching and drawing, I was drawing these womb-like structures which had a sense of being multifunctional; so you can be private and public depending on your mood. In the final year of uni, I was making a lot of different models, of wicker, felt, plastic, rubber, carpet underlay, all kinds of things. The only thing I had in mind was the form and the function, I didn’t know what I wanted to make it out of. One of the models was a little 1mm felt thing, that was exactly this [Hush] just a tenth of the scale. And then I got the 10mm felt sample in the mail, opened it and that was it, it was the perfect match.

What’s the design process, how do you actually make one?

It’s now manufactured in Durham by Ness Furniture and available made-to-order. It’s a 3.6 metre long piece of 10mm industrial felt, which is hand-cut and hand-sewn together to a FSC-approved plywood frame, which is padded with recycled wool fibres that are produced as by-product of the carpet industry. The remnant pieces which are left over are made into lampshades, which you can light different areas of a room or a workspace.

Making HUSH by Freyja Sewell

HUSH by Freyja Sewell woman seated

How do you hope people will use Hush?

I really like the idea of a family using it for an open-plan living space. It’s an increasingly densified world that we’re living in and there so many ways we can share and communicate, with our laptops and social networking, but what about the fact that people are still individuals and still need to escape and find privacy? You might find yourself wandering around a workplace, thinking I just want to find somewhere I can have a minute to myself!

Making HUSH of HUSH by Freyja Sewell Detail

What’s next for you?

Well, in July, we will possibly be starting a scheme with Unilever, where we will be building them a giant 8-person Hush with coloured LEDs and speakers, which will change the colour and create different atmospheres.

Thankyou Freyja! Find out more about her work at www.freyjasewell.co.uk 

HUSH by Freyja Sewell

Image of Freyja: Carol Sachs