Muses come in many forms: a child at play, the sun disappearing into the horizon, a perfectly symmetric artichoke…or even a wild water pond in England where only women can swim.
Tatjana von Stein and Gayle Noonan, founders of Sella Concept, were inspired by the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond on Hampstead Heath to design their first-ever furniture collection for the commercial market. The pond is part of miles of expansive greenery located inside London, and it’s been providing women a private place to swim surrounded by nature since 1926.
The Simple Inspiration
The design duo was awed by the haven: a splash of wild abandon in the middle of a lively city where women of all ages, sizes, and shapes let go of societal constraints and swim with unbridled vigor and joy. Its influence is obvious in even the name of the Ladies Pond collection, which consists of three curvy stools that reflect the emerald colors of the pond. Simply dubbed “Bather 1, 2, and 3,” the set is meant to embody all the diverse body types of the pond’s users.
“Exploring form, material, and an emotive response was at the forefront of designing these sculptural stools. We worked with fantastic craftsmen to master the challenging art of curves, resulting in a free-flowing and tactile nature,” von Stein explains.
Each ‘bather’ is entirely hand-turned from tulip wood. The pieces are then separately finished with a stone compound, which itself is available in several colors to meet many tastes. After the lengthy hand-turning process, each stone takes roughly three days to finish. The completed stools, which range in stature from about 25½ to 29½ inches, are then given a soft, comfortable upholstered top cushion made from a textured wool and cotton bouclé cloth chosen from the Wellington collection of Tibor, a renowned London-based fabric/textile studio. When all is said and done, the lead time for these made-to-order stools is roughly six to eight weeks, with each one retailing for around $2,600.
The collection was officially launched at the Design Encounter event at the 2019 Decorex, an international interior design show featuring over 400 interior designers. Noonan and von Stein are hopeful that this signals the start of a new path for their studio, one on which they can promote their products openly to domestic and commercial clientele alike.
“We will venture further into furniture design while keeping integrity as to why we do it every time and thinking about whether we can achieve it in the most sustainable way,” von Stein says. “It is a wonderful way for us to explore form and material outside of brand and site-specific projects, and working with a wider audience at heart allows us to explore different themes and processes.”
Their Mission Statement
Sella Concept’s website clearly states their goals, and the enthusiasts of The Kenwood Ladies’ Pond embrace their aspirations.
The duo adds: “Our clients are diverse in industry, outlook, and character but share a common goal: to transport their customers and users outside everyday life, to give them space to breathe and scope to dream.
“We create spaces that tell stories. Identities with meaning. Environments outside time. Sensory details that stir emotions and steer behaviors. Places where a thousand compelling moments unfold every day. Intuition-born, research-driven, and brand-inspired. Holistic approach. Creative solution.”