For stylist turned designer Sarah Ellison, the creative process often starts with finding just the right material or design detail.
Since jumping into the world of product design in 2017, her name has become synonymous with muted, on-trend colour palettes and sculptural furniture – aptly described as ‘great design without the ego’ on her website. But it’s her focus on refining a distinct design aesthetic that’s helped cement her success.
‘I want form to be the hero so it’s important for me to use a really neutral palette, so that the shapes become the focal point in my designs. When you want to focus on shape you use less colour. I like things to feel warm and inviting,’ Sarah says.
‘[In the beginning of the design process,] I’m not thinking about functionality, it’s more about an idea, the mood, the message. I do a million sketches and variations of the same thing, there’s usually a couple of ideas that stick,’ Sarah says.
From here, Sarah works alongside her team to create a 3D model of the piece to explore scale, ergonomics, and how a human body would interact with the pieces. They only move on to prototypes and sampling after feedback and lots of discussions – sometimes it can take up to six iterations to perfect a product!
‘The idea for a design is only a small part of a much larger process… Making that idea into a viable commercial product is the bigger challenge,’ Sarah adds.
The team’s latest challenge has been an exciting one – expanding the business to the US market! ‘Our first conversation with [Design Within Reach] was in 2020, so it’s been around 18 months of work to get to a point where we can announce that Sarah Ellison is officially available online, as well as inside 25 of their retail studios across the US,’ the brand co-founder says.
Sarah says it’s beyond her ‘wildest dreams’ that she’s been able to get to this place in such a relatively short space of time… but we have a feeling this is just the beginning!
Shop Sarah Ellison’s wonderful pieces online here.