It’s long been said that grocery shopping on an empty stomach doesn’t bode well for your hip pocket. That maxim is now crossing the aisles into the design realm as a mouth-watering spread of food-inspired furnishings enters the marketplace. There’s everything from rugs mimicking fried eggs, sofas that pass as oversized hotdogs and buttery corncob stools out to tempt tastebuds. And empty wallets. Joining the buffet this month is a plump pouf by Netherlands-based designer Sabine Marcelis for Swedish design house Hem – an extra seat which takes its iconic form and delectable colourway from sticky-sweet doughnuts. “I have this fascination and love for the doughnut shape,” Sabine says of her inspiration. “It is such a perfectly complete and finite shape that is straightforward but not boring.
The doughnut-inspired ‘Boa’ pouf by Sabine Marcelis for Hem
Named the ‘Boa’ pouf, the beautifully rounded, foam-filled seat marks the first collaboration between Sabine Marcelis and Hem; a doughnut-inspired debut that is certain to satisfy the appetite of design-lovers everywhere. “Sabine’s mastery of colour and geometry makes her a natural collaborator for Hem and we have admired her work for years,” says Petrus Palmér, founder and CEO of Hem. “Sabine is not afraid to be irreverent and to take on a challenge.”
The pouf is upholstered in melange wool, made possible by a shape-knitting technique that eliminates all visible seams or ridges; a high-tech process rarely employed in furniture design. The knitting technique became the perfect fit for the ‘Boa’ since it hugs the shape flawlessly, with the added benefit of producing no scrap fabric, thereby significantly reducing waste during production and advancing ideas of sustainability.
Measuring in at roughly 1150mm (45″) in diameter and 450mm (18″) high, the ‘Boa’ pouf looks deceptively simple. But Petrus is quick to explain there’s more than meets the eye, highlighting that the development of the seamless, shape-knit fabric was one of the most difficult processes that the design company has ever tackled. “What we achieved with Sabine would have been impossible to create using traditional means,” he says. “The final product has no precedent.”
The level of difficulty is evidenced by the lengthy process; it took Hem and Marcelis nearly two years and about a dozen prototypes to transition from design schematics to the final product. The result feels and appears as if it’s simply been pumped up with air, although its complex core is constructed from wood and foam. It’s ergonomically comfortable for lounging and sturdy enough for multiple people to pile on at once, served up in three tantalising upholstery options: Sulfur Yellow, Cotton Candy and Oatmeal.
Looking back on the collaboration and its challenges, Sabine feels fortunate that Hem was such a willing and dedicated partner. “Petrus helped bring my idea of upholstering the ‘Boa’ pouf in completely seamless fabric to life, despite the many technical obstacles. We had a lot of fun perfecting the prototype, choosing the colours, and planning how we can expand the straightforward ‘O’ shape of the pouf into a wider collection of seating moving forward,” she concludes, leaving her followers undoubtedly hungry for more.
Priced from €1499, the ‘Boa’ pouf is available from May 12.
I have this fascination and love for the doughnut shape. It is such a perfectly complete and finite shape that is straightforward but not boring.