Profile | yesterday furnitureInspiration
We caught up with British Mid Century collector, Gabrielle Sharp, of yesterday furniture and got some tips on how to update an interior look with a few key surface designs. A former graphic designer, Sharp now turns her eye on fine tuning environments and offers an amazing assortment of British and Scandinavian Mid Century pieces available through her online shop. If you’re lucky, she might even ship to the States…
Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Gabrielle Sharp, I was born in Brighton and I am now living in Hackney, London. Having studied Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins, I recently became an ex-designer that left graphic design to set up a Mid-Century on-line shop called yesterday furniture. The ethos of the business is ‘beautiful furniture for under £500’. Sick of all the expensive furniture that frequents the design shops where I live in East London, I set out to change this and yesterday furniture was born.
How would you describe your personal design style?
Being born of a French mother and a English father, I was brought up in a house surrounded with the French art deco furniture of my mother’s and it seemed to clash horribly with the dark English Victorian furniture my father loved. I vowed that when I grew up, I would find my own style and that happened in the shape of the clean lines of the Mid-Century era. I fell in love instantly and have never looked back.
What are some of your influences?
I am very proud of my English heritage and that has had a profound influence on my tastes and values. I am fascinated with post-war Britain. It seemed like the most exciting time for designers. With the limitations they faced, along with the shortages and rations of products, a new style emerged. After these dark years Britain picked itself up with the practical design it became famous for – it was functional and timeless. Design played a large role in the process of rebirth of our country, that in itself, I find inspirational. yesterday furniture sources and supplies these pieces and are very proud to be able to do so.
Do you have a favorite piece that inspires you?
One of the brands to emerge from post-war Britain was Ercol and the famous Nest of Pebble Tables became an instant hit. They were designed in 1956 by Lucian Ercolani. The tables are made of beech wood and have a wonderful design simplicity with such appealing curves. If my house was burning down, I would save these first.
Do you have a favorite surface designer?
Lucienne Day who passed away in January this year was inspiration to me growing up. She gave colour and hope to people during the war years and continued to do so in the 1950’s and for the next 60 years. Her work combined organic shapes with bright patterns inspired by contemporary abstract painters. I am indebted to Lucienne. She gave me the courage to leave the safety of my job in order to set up yesterday furniture. Her belief that good design should be affordable propelled me into starting my own company.
Any tips on how to incorporate surface designs into a room and make it work?
I am a true believer in living with a space first. I try not to stuff it to the bream with things I don’t really care for. It took me 7 months to find my perfect sofa. Colours have to work and flow into different spaces without looking like they are forced. Surface design enables you to control the feeling of your apartment and allows you change the mood without having to change all your furniture. Simple things like updating cushions and rugs can have a large impact on the feel of a room.
What are some of your favorite unexpected design resources?
A lot of things inspire me. It can be anything from books, magazines and architecture. I am very lucky to live in a city like London. I find myself walking around large concrete council estates built in the 1950’s/1960’s. The grids and angular shapes that make up these estates fascinate me. I find them oddly comforting and inspiring. I try to visit Sweden and Denmark a few times a year. Their sense of practicality, white spaces and love of nature is very refreshing. Most of all, I feel very fortunate to live in a society where ‘blogs’ are accessible to all. You have as much inspiration you can take at the click of a button.
How do you stay inspired? Are there sites you like to reference?
I have a routine: I wake up, breakfast and then I go through all the blogs I like to read. This sets me up for the day and makes me more aware of things I wouldn’t even look at normally. It can be something really silly someone has blogged about, beautiful photography, beautiful Danish chairs or even a recipe for cupcakes. I draw inspiration from all of them.
From an interiors perspective, do you see any trends or ideas you’d like to share?
It seems to me that there is a definite shift of people rejecting new mass made furniture in order to buy vintage. There is not so much of a stigma of buying ‘second hand’ anymore. Good quality furniture that lasts the test of time and looks beautiful is appealing to a lot more people. My advice is to buy it while it’s still around.