INTERVIEW

On Designing for

the Home

 

 

Earlier this week, Mara Hoffman launched her 28-piece home collection in collaboration with West Elm. Mara designed the collection—spanning across furniture, lighting decorative accessories, and textiles—from a personal space, implementing a calm palette that embodies the way that she lives. We talked with Mara about the collaboration, the influence of nature on her creative process, and her commitment to responsible design.

INTERVIEW

On Designing for
the Home

Earlier this week, Mara Hoffman launched her 28-piece home collection in collaboration with West Elm. Mara designed the collection—spanning across furniture, lighting decorative accessories, and textiles—from a personal space, implementing a calm palette that embodies the way that she lives. We talked with Mara about the collaboration, the influence of nature on her creative process, and her commitment to responsible design.

 

What was your inspiration for the collection?

 

I drew inspiration from our existing MH collections, translating the feeling of the brand into a home collection, and my forever inspiration for all things: Nature. It was a melding of worlds and also an invitation to apply our design sensibilities to objects as opposed to garments.

 

I also have cultivated a deep relationship with the trees around where I live. I take long walks and talk to them, sometimes I sing to them and thank them. From that relationship, I feel like I’ve tapped into a deep line of creativity and inspiration. The trees are my co-creators on just about everything these days.

What was your inspiration for the collection?

 

I drew inspiration from our existing MH collections, translating the feeling of the brand into a home collection, and my forever inspiration for all things: Nature. It was a melding of worlds and also an invitation to apply our design sensibilities to objects as opposed to garments.

 

I also have cultivated a deep relationship with the trees around where I live. I take long walks and talk to them, sometimes I sing to them and thank them. From that relationship, I feel like I’ve tapped into a deep line of creativity and inspiration. The trees are my co-creators on just about everything these days.

Ceramic Vases

$60

Colorblock Bath Mat

$40

Floor Lamp

$299

Wall Art

$199

How do you think that designing clothing influenced the way your approach to designing a home collection?

 

I think the big difference is taking body and fit out of the equation. Both our team and West Elm approach design with the same level of intentionality around material, make, purpose and longevity in relationship to sustainability. This is really why we felt it was a strong match for collaboration.

 

As far as the design itself, it was really fun to step outside the confines of fashion and get to focus on objects. When body shapes and fit aren’t a focus then you can really just focus on the emotionality, beauty and function of what you are designing.

 

Can you talk a bit about the fabrics and materials you used?

 

We are huge fans of West Elm’s long term and committed efforts to their sustainability practices and we knew from the beginning that both brands were aligned in our approach from environmentally-responsible manufacturing, to the human-centric side of this work. This commitment is reflected in the materials we used like organic cotton, faux shearling made from recycled polyester, and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved wood. Where possible, the pieces are also Fair Trade and NEST certified.

 

I was also inspired by the opportunity to work with hard materials like ceramic and metals. It’s really far from our materials for MH so thinking about shape and an idea of weight and “permanence” felt inspiring and an invitation to create from a different mindset. I love vintage ceramics and have collected many pieces over the years, so to create our own, which will hopefully become “vintage” items themselves one day, feels good.

How do you think that designing clothing influenced the way your approach to designing a home collection?

 

I think the big difference is taking body and fit out of the equation. Both our team and West Elm approach design with the same level of intentionality around material, make, purpose and longevity in relationship to sustainability. This is really why we felt it was a strong match for collaboration.

 

As far as the design itself, it was really fun to step outside the confines of fashion and get to focus on objects. When body shapes and fit aren’t a focus then you can really just focus on the emotionality, beauty and function of what you are designing.

 

Can you talk a bit about the fabrics and materials you used?

 

We are huge fans of West Elm’s long term and committed efforts to their sustainability practices and we knew from the beginning that both brands were aligned in our approach from environmentally-responsible manufacturing, to the human-centric side of this work. This commitment is reflected in the materials we used like organic cotton, faux shearling made from recycled polyester, and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved wood. Where possible, the pieces are also Fair Trade and NEST certified.

 

I was also inspired by the opportunity to work with hard materials like ceramic and metals. It’s really far from our materials for MH so thinking about shape and an idea of weight and “permanence” felt inspiring and an invitation to create from a different mindset. I love vintage ceramics and have collected many pieces over the years, so to create our own, which will hopefully become “vintage” items themselves one day, feels good.

Is there anything you learned from flexing this new creative muscle that you would bring to designing clothing, creative direction, or life?

 

The lessons that I always return to come from nature: listen to nature—our highest teacher while on this planet, create what can be made in integrity and reverence to this planet, and we need way less than we think we do.

Is there anything you learned from flexing this new creative muscle that you would bring to designing clothing, creative direction, or life?

 

The lessons that I always return to come from nature: listen to nature—our highest teacher while on this planet, create what can be made in integrity and reverence to this planet, and we need way less than we think we do.

This conversation has been slightly condensed and edited for clarity

This conversation has been slightly condensed and edited for clarity