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Mocha - Interview with Holly Palmer

Holly Palmer is the designer of the original and playful Tea Cup Stool. She graduated from Bucks New University, UK, in 2008 where she studied Contemporary Furniture and Product Design.

Here she tells us the story behind the design of Tea Cup Stool, the process involved in manufacturing it; and reveals to us the designers who have inspired her.

What initially inspired you to design the Tea Cup Stool?

The Tea Cup Stool was inspired by children’s literature and Surrealism, in particular Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It is designed to confuse proportions and use, to be playful and original. I want the user to feel like Alice when they interact with the seat.

Tell me a little about the design process involved?

The original prototype was made through vacuum forming in four parts and was filled with expanding foam – it looked like a huge cappuccino.

Now though, the piece is roto-molded in a five part tool in the same way as your everyday plastic bottle. It is manufactured in Plymouth. How would you describe your design style?

Unique, playful, innovative. My pieces have inspiration and a story behind them.

Which designers inspire you, and why?

Mostly I am inspired by designers from the 60s – Panton, Robin Day, Eames… This is because of how free and innovative products were. Furniture was bold and vibrant. Colombo was ‘inventing the future’ in the past. I appreciate Tom Dixon’s work too because it seems to echo this era.

What item of furniture or home accessory do you wish you had designed?

The Panton Living Tower is brilliant, I love how you can interact within it. It’s play time for adults.

What’s your favourite film of all time?

Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I watched it every summer at my Nan’s place when I went to visit. I still love it now.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, and various others.

I like to read more than one book at a time. It gives me a choice depending on my mood.

Barbellion’s ‘The Journal of a Disappointed Man’ is better when you have a more open mind.

What appeals to you about designing furniture and home accessories?

Three words – Design enhances life.

Photo credit: Holly Palmer

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