In this installment of our Hh Interviews series, we want to introduce you to the masterful Anne Sewell. You will probably know that Hudson Home is somewhat of a family business already and Anne is indeed part of the family. It just so happens that my sister is an incredible furniture designer so it would be remiss of us not to collaborate!
Anne set up her business in 2001, specialising in the design and development of cabinet furniture for the retail market. With over 20 years of design and sourcing experience, Anne believes that good, well considered design, can greatly enhance a product's success and its impact in your home. She is very much aligned to our ethos, that high end brands, with the price tags to match, are no longer the only way to own timeless design. She designs with an acute attention to detail, manufacturing savvy and a finger on the aspirational pulse. We have worked closely with Anne on a number of our furniture designs and we love the design prowess and creative flair that she brings to the team. Let’s find out more about her….
Introduce yourself and what you do
Anne Sewell - I am a furniture designer with over 25 years of commercial experience. I specialise in designing products for the middle sector of the UK market for high street and online retailers.
Is this what you always saw yourself doing? And what formal training did you do?
In a way I did - I always wanted to do something creative so after school I went to art school and took to 3D sculpture above other mediums. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be specialist fine art sculpturer however I saw 3d products as sculpture for every day life. So did a BA (hons) Degree in Furniture and Product Design. My career started designing for the luxury bespoke sector of the market which gave me an amazing grounding in high quality craftsmanship, however I later found opportunities in the mass production middle sector which I found was more suited to my personality / ethos and design style.
What has been your favourite or most challenging piece of furniture you’ve designed?
Well ask any furniture designer and they will tell you the chair is always the most challenging item within any collection. It is probably one of my most favourite and challenging pieces and its the most sculptural and requires the most time and development. Not only has it got to look good but it has to be comfortable. Another favourite is the sideboard. When embarking on a new collection I always start with the sideboard. I love the elegance and functionality of the sideboard and here I work out all the design features which are common to all the other items with in the collection.
How have you enjoyed working with Claire & Nic? What has the design/make process been like?
I loved working with Claire and Nic. Firstly they have built such a beautiful brand and are very clear what product sits within the brand, this is always a great start to a brief. Clients which have a strong idea of what they want are always I joy to work with - I then become an interpreter of their ideas and my skill is delivering exactly their vision. - with of course some of my own touches which enrich the process and the overall look.
The design process has been great - their original brief was clear and I very quickly got into their mindset of what their final offer should look like. I was also a help in recommending and then sourcing a UK manufacturer for them - which after 20 years of working with factories all over the world was great to see a project actually made here in the UK. (Also great to visit an factory by car and not by flying for 14 hours!).
Can you share some advice for aspiring furniture designers just starting out?
Follow your dream!! It's a great industry which has gone through huge changes in my career - we need UK designers so much - we need creativity to make all products have that aesthetic desirability to compete in this worldwide marketplace and making quality UK manufacture a viable option. We also need more investment and development put into products which are made from sustainable materials with the quality with lasting functionality and appeal.
What is your go-to podcast?
Not big on podcasts but am an instagram addict. I follow such a variety I really couldn’t even say - however it ranges from a variety of big brand Italian design houses, to kundalini yoga, to newborn kittens
What are you reading at the moment?
Feminism for Women - Julie Bindle.
What can’t you live without (completely non interiors related!) fun rather than serious!
I'm fully aware I'm really too old to be a hipster but I do absolutely love my single speed bike. Something I became reunited with in lockdown was cycling, a real joy as London was briefly pretty much car free. I have a beautiful cycle ride along the thames every morning to my studio and I'm filled with gratitude for life.
What's next for you?
I'm working on a small collection of my own - I'm not sure how commercial it will be - but it's a dream to have the freedom to design purely to my own brief.
Vist Anne's website here: annesewelldesign.com