Womb with a view
By Manjul Misra
21st July 2012 01:59 PM
Is it a chair? A bean bag? A bed? A tent? Well, all of the above, really. This unique seating concept by British designer Freyja Sewell is yet to get into production but it has already created a kind of a hush all over the world. And not just Herman, but hermits everywhere are surely going to sink into this seat in retreat. For the beauty of this pod is that it can be closed into a womb shape or opened to reveal a bean bag-esque chair. “I’m very excited about this product and the incredible reception it’s had,” says Sewell, who plans to get into production by winter.
As Sewell explains: “With open plan offices, online profile sharing and cameras built into laptops, never has it been easier for humans to connect, but what about when we want to withdraw? The womb shape inspires very different feelings in different people—to me it is a warm, cosy space for contemplation and rest.” Which is exactly what this multipurpose seating pod does. “By creating an enclosed space, Hush provides a personal retreat, an escape into a dark, quiet, natural space within the confines of a small home or in the midst a busy airport, office, shop or library,” says Sewell.
Modern-day necessity, adds Sewell, has been the mother of this invention. There are now 21 cities with populations larger than 10 million and it is predicted that there will be many more in the future. Soaring property prices and lack of available space are causing more and more people to seek alternatives to owning their own home in the city, for example sharing your room with a sibling or a friend. It is essential to continue to develop new ways of allowing people to comfortably co-exist in these increasingly densely populated environments. The Hush pod is an ideal way to do that—a chair when you want to interact with people, an enclosed tent if you need to withdraw.
The main body of Hush is water jet cut from a single piece of industrial felt. It is then sewn together using over 150 meters of wool yarn. Felt can be made from many different types of fibre, including bamboo and flax, however the felt used in Hush is 100 per cent wool. That’s because wool is naturally flame retardant, breathable, durable and elastic. It is also multi-climatic, meaning it is warm when the environment is cold and cool when it’s warm. Besides, it is biodegradable and so won’t clog up landfill after disposal.
By creating Hush, Sewell has also tried to create awareness about the many uses of wool. “Much wool in Britain is currently wasted—our native, naturally coarser, wool is thrown away from lack of demand or exported in its raw form. I have been in contact with the Campaign for Wool, that is working to raise the profile of this wonderful and sustainable material,” she says.
When she started designing this piece, she was told it would not be possible to create a monocoque structure using felt alone, Sewell recalls. But after creating Hush, Sewell believes that this material has much more potential that is yet to be explored. Incidentally, the cushions used in the pod are stuffed with recycled wool fibres, a bi-product of the carpet industry.
Born in Cornwall, Sewell has a degree in 3D Design from Brighton University. She lives and works in London where she has founded a design collective, Studio Sudi.
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