The NYC-based designer Sophie Lou Jacobsen’s glass houseware collection
The NYC-based designer Sophie Lou Jacobsen’s glass houseware collection is an eye-catching production which can’t go unnoticed. I was amazed by her work when I happened to see her sculptural creations, so I wished for a closer look on her view. I asked Sophie a few questions more about her way to approach design matter.
Sophie Lou Jacobsen is a French/American designer based in New York City, since 2015. After the co-foundation - alongside the interior designer Sarita Posada - of Studio Sayso (2018), the design firm that focuses on accessible furniture, she launched a debut collection of furniture during the New York Design Week.
Before 2018, she began to work as a design assistant at Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, all the while continuing to work on her own projects.
It’s here that she designed her first objects in glass, which would propel her to launch her eponymous collection of homeware goods a year later.
During the years, Sophie developed a distinctive design language spanning products, furniture, graphics, and interiors and hers creations are all pervaded by both a democratic and a playful soul.
Since she established her personal studio, a couple of years ago, she had been focusing on “everyday use objects”, the endless field of inspiration over times for her, which have matched a single material collection with glass as the main character.
The design is the tool she uses for analyzing modern rituals, altering perspectives and ultimately mood through her work, enhancing the enjoyment of these everyday objects.
“What I am really trying to do is make people feel happy”
Sophie Lou Jacobsen for ADF Web Magazine
The glass has become her crystalline medium that embodies the transparent “mutual respect relationship that should exists between humans and objects”, according to the designer’s thinking.
Sophie’s design aims at enhancing utilitarian objects, paying close attention to form, material and function in such a way that these normally ubiquitous objects could be elevated into significant objects.
The use of glass and the user centered inspiration is a tangible winning combination: a mindful production on one hand and a conceptual inspiration on the other makes her product talkative and vibrant, a kind of living presence in the domestic spaces.
Despite the playful inspiration of the quirky shaped collection, the decanters as the waved handle pitchers and the colorful vases hide a profound reasoning in balancing form and function.
To produce the collection, Sophie Lou Jacobsen has joined local artisans communities while diving into traditional techniques as the glass blowing and the finest craftsmanship, making the collection steeped in traditional decorative glassware from the early 1900s and in the actual minimalis/Modernist design tendency.
The ability to create universal, recognizable shapes, capable of stripping any products from its superstructures, brings it closer to its very function as an object.
It is indeed interesting how these products are not presented to the public as “art for the art’s sake” objects, but as functional and usable pieces of furniture, to all effects.
For example, the spray bottle with plastic and glass body. These are objects that amuse the user but that combine domestic functionality with the delicacy of handcrafted glass, at the same time.
V.A.: Your products hide both a democratic and a playful soul. After the co-foundation of Studio Sayso, the design firm which focuses on accessible furniture, why did you turn to glass as the main character of your collection?
S.L.J: I ended up working with glass completely randomly. I was responding to a brief for an exhibition and needed to work with glass for the design. And I really loved the outcome and the prices, so I’ve been focusing on that since. That said, I am trying/hoping to expand and work with other materials and scales in the near future!
V.A: Did you ever think to experiment with the Murano glass blowing technique, here in Italy?
S.L.J: I would LOVE this! So much of my inspiration comes from Murano glass pieces.
V.A: The poetics behind your products is tangible. What experiences have influenced the way you approach the creation of a product? What inspires you on a daily basis?
S.L.J: Thank you! I try to imbue my products with a certain softness, or playfulness, because what I am really trying to do is make people feel happy. So it always makes me very happy to hear that that is being translated in my work. I’m mostly inspired by the built and natural world around me - capturing shapes, colors, compositions, moods, feelings. An idea will often be sparked by something random I see on a daily walk, or in the subway, or in a conversation.
V.A.: How the pandemic affected your creative funnel as a Designer?
S.L.J: The pandemic was very difficult for me in many ways of course, but my creativity really took a hit as well. Since I try to capture happiness through my pieces, I basically had a massive creative block until about November of 2020. But this was OK, in a way, because instead I focused on very tedious, administrative tasks, which I normally hate doing, and I was able to grow my business in a more focused way.
V.A.: You also started a campaign which took down your web shop last year to demonstrate how Design can be political. Do you think the Design sector can help cope with social injustice?
S.L.J: I’m not sure if design specifically can help – but as designers, we have the same responsibility as everyone else to be working in the most equitable and sustainable way as possible (within the realm of possibility of course. As independent/small business sometimes we don’t have the funds or access to do everything perfectly). It’s all about collective action, and even is design isn’t necessarily the most political thing in the world, we need to all hold ourselves accountable.
V.A.: Any projects coming up in the next future?
S.L.J: Hopefully some furniture and lighting coming soon 🙂
Her experiments with glass are humorous and conceptual, precious inhabitants and treasures of the spaces.
Let’s see what will Sophie will reserve for us when it happen to furniture.