Pouf Boa,design Sabine Marcelis for Hem Image courtesy Hem

Sabine Marcelis, Design News 2021

Sabine Marcelis is a young designer originally from New Zealand. She moved to The Netherlands from Wellington, where she studied Industrial Design at Victoria University.

Sabine graduating from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2011. She founded her studio in Rotterdam, which predominantly deals with object design, installation and spatial design. The products from her collection vary from mirrors, multifunctional pieces, dinner tables, easy chairs to series of lighting or bags.

Sabine uses different materials like glass, cast resin, mirror, lava stone, metal sheets or different material combination to express her ideas. She experiments and explores new possibilities of materials application and realizes interesting design achievements.

Resin plays an important role in her creative work. She uses it for products of different purposes: furniture, multifunctional pieces or lighting objects. Finishes such as transparent and highly polished resin or soapy resin with matte surfaces give a magical effect to her products. She plays with the relationship between material and light. Some hidden characteristics of the resin are seen only when the light is turned on. Sabine expands the use of materials based on their natural properties. As the resin has sound-insulating properties, it is used for furniture elements where this characteristic is needed. In this way, the comfort of using the final product is raised to a higher level. 

Sabine often uses glass as well. She is interested in the optical effects that can be achieved by using this material. The play of colors and depth within the reflective surface she fulfils by using several layers of glass that have colored foils in the sandwich.

Pouf Boa,design Sabine Marcelis for Hem Image courtesy Hem Pouf Boa,design Sabine Marcelis for Hem Image courtesy Hem
Pouf Boa,design Sabine Marcelis for Hem
Image courtesy Hem

Her combinations of materials are often unusual, far from expectations. For example, she boldly uses glass as a structural base or lava stone plates of extremely large dimensions. Sabine combines contrasting materials, such as cast resin and thin sheet metal, so that the resulting combination achieves visual balance.

In her hands, the materials are a powerful tool for artistic expression. A significant opus of her work is different types of lighting, chandeliers, wall lamps, sculptural light compositions. She explores the relationship between light, material characteristics like color, transparency and saturation. She investigates how to control light paths. Sometimes she uses diffuses made of polyester resins which filter the light source or enhance the color properties. The angles of material and its light reflection properties serve her to create unique visual experiences.

Pouf Boa,design Sabine Marcelis for Hem Image courtesy Hem
Pouf Boa,design Sabine Marcelis for Hem
Image courtesy Hem

Her approach in creating interiors is the same. Pulling away from typical design solutions, she uses unconventional materials, emphasizing their relationship and characteristics such as reflection and colors.

Her work is characterized by pure forms which highlight material properties, colours, textures. She always looking for different ways of the material application. She investigates not only material properties but production process to realize desired design solutions.

The list of Sabine Marcelis’s clients is long. Her designs are included in the permanent collections of many museums: Museums Boijmans van Beunigen, Centraal Museum Utrecht , the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia.

She has won many awards and the last one was Wallpaper* magazine’s Designer of the Year 2020.

Pouf Boa,design Sabine Marcelis for Hem Image courtesy Hem
Pouf Boa,design Sabine Marcelis for Hem
Image courtesy Hem

Technology supports aesthetics

Swedish independent design brand Hem launched the Pouf Boa designed by young designer Sabine Marcelis in May 2021.

Boa is a piece of upholstered, occasional furniture, donut-shaped, in attractive, light colours. 

The donut shape was the inspiration for Sabine as for many other designers because of its perfection. The initial idea for the product was Pouf which Sabine did for a one-off project for a fashion brand in Milan. The cooperation between the designer and this manufacturer began more than two years ago. Sabine developed the design and supported Hem to perform researches and preparation for the production of the product.

The result was donut-shaped lounge seat upholstered in mélange wool. The Pouf consists of a wooden core and moulded foam around it. Behind the surface, the smooth shape-knit textile covers the Boa Pouf and create the impression of continuity.

The shape of the donut is a recognizable feature of this product. The strong form is simple and ordinary, but not boring. On the contrary, it has a certain dynamic reflected in the transition from sensual form, with curve lines to void but without sharp edges anywhere. 

The biggest challenge in the realization was to produce the designed shape with the fabric in a completely seamless way. The implementation of Sabina's idea was achieved with the close cooperation of the designer and manufacturer and their mutual understanding. A significant factor in this process was the application of an innovative production technique, developed by Hema's engineering team. 

Pouf Boa,design Sabine Marcelis for Hem Image courtesy Hem
Pouf Boa,design Sabine Marcelis for Hem
Image courtesy Hem

The shape-knitting technique is a high-tech process not usually seen in furniture manufacturing. It is also sustainable as the technique produces no scrap fabric, significantly reducing production waste. The colorful threads are fed into the knitting machine, which then creates a seamless sleeve, designed to tightly yet smoothly slip onto the naked inner foam construction of the Boa Pouf. The development of the seamless, smooth shape-knit fabric enabled the realization of upholstered shapes that would have been impossible to create using traditional means.

The final product is with rounded lines, soft, encased in a seamless outer layer that gives it pure form. The solution is realized without visible seams that would distort the perfect shape. 

Boa can find its place in private or public spaces. It fulfils the function of primary seating or can serve as an addition to other seats. It can be used as a single piece or in a group depending on the needs. Boa Pouf allows the user to sit on a ring body, to rest his legs or just to lean back. The void of the pouf enables to ‘hide’ a book or telephone or place your baby in a safe space. Its flawless geometry and the continuity of the surface is an advantage of the product, reflected in its appearance and aesthetic characteristics. This pouf of sculptural properties gives a recognizable note to each space.

Pouf Boa,design Sabine Marcelis for Hem Image courtesy Hem
Pouf Boa,design Sabine Marcelis for Hem
Image courtesy Hem

The Pouf Boa is Marcelis’s first work in textile furniture and confirms her design philosophy. The main characteristics are clear forms with stress on the materials, textures and colours.

Pouf Boa is one of the design news  in 2021.