We’re happy to introduce London’s most exciting new high-end furniture designer, Fay Sebel and the ‘Herstory’ collection for 2019.
Fay Sebel’s home lifestyle brand blends style and sustainability, with stunning, handcrafted furniture made from salvaged wood – 80% of it from London. Fay loves that each piece is completely individual, thanks to the carefully selected heartwood, hand-sanded and oiled to reveal the seductive wood grain patterns. Fay brings something unique to the table – and to the desk, the bench, and other key pieces for home or office. Bespoke commissions on request.
Herstory celebrates icons and artists who have influenced Fay’s life and work – and in this case, the pantheon is all female.
“I want to celebrate women’s stories – which are often missing from the history books – just as my hardwood furniture reveals the hidden story of each tree.” While many furniture makers reject wood without a uniform grain, Fay Sebel carefully selects heartwood with a rich and unique wood grain pattern. “It’s like a heartbeat, showing each tree’s life and history. You can actually see where a branch unfurled. Each piece is individually crafted by hand and lovingly sanded and oiled, to become a conversation – and conservation – piece.”
Why conservation? Fay is passionate about the integrity and sustainability of her wood furniture. Not only does she source all wood from England, around 80% of it comes from London. The Herstory collection is made from trees removed to make way for HS2, the high-speed rail from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. Turning this salvaged wood into furniture diverts it from landfill and reduces demand for ‘new wood’. The project is ensuring that much of the wood goes to smaller makers and craftspeople. Fay takes this responsibility seriously – and ensures the beauty of the wood shines through.
“I’ve fallen in love with this wood – the value, the quality and the history of the trees.”
Style and inspiration. The Herstory collection celebrates simple elegance. Clean lines and transparent oil highlight the quality of the wood itself, instead of fussy adornments or opaque stains. Fay carefully handcrafts the furniture in London, rounding all the edges, and hand-sanding for hours for a perfect patina. She draws inspiration from London’s architecture, particularly minimalism and brutalism.
Talk to Fay about a truly special bespoke piece, designed for your home or office.
I was born in Russia – I can still remember walking in the fields with my babushka. When I was six, we moved to Greece, but by age 23 I was feeling stifled and ready to spread my wings. I moved to London, to study and to be free to be myself and reach my full potential.
Here, I was accepted: as a gay person and as a woman who could pursue her ambitions. I studied at an award-winning music school and started curating art exhibitions in Shoreditch and beyond. I loved breaking down the traditional barriers to emerging artistic talent, and sharing new art with the public.
Soon I decided to pursue my own artistic ambitions. I’m a real hands-on person, which is why being a designer and maker means so much to me. I have an intimate relationship with each piece of wood. I select it based on provenance and sustainability, then treat it with care and respect. I love the heartwood, because it is so beautiful and tells a good story.
Now I spend my days creating handcrafted furniture and enjoying life with my wife, Sara and young son, Nicholas.
The Earth loses forests half the size of England each year, says National Geographic. Demand for wood encourages illegal logging, which cuts deeper into virgin forest each year, destroying tropical forests and wildlife habitats – and the wood is transported across the globe.
I am committed to using salvaged British wood, most of it from London. Salvaged wood comes from trees that have died, fallen or are being removed for a building, motorway or railway – in this case, HS2. Salvaged wood is in its natural state and hasn’t already been cut into lumber. Turning salvaged wood into furniture diverts it from landfill and reduces demand for logging or tree farms. Salvaged wood tends to come from older trees, so it’s harder and stronger than young wood, with more character too: deep, rich colours and beautifully intricate wood grain, often with knots or whorls. Salvaged wood is better quality than reclaimed wood, which comes from old buildings or barns and may have damage from nails, insects or exposure.