© 2018 by Jack Newbury

Interview with Corinne Webb

10/20/2017

A few days ago I got to meet the creative mind behind the new company Frame & Cover, Corinne Webb. Meeting in Chelsea after work, we sat in a cosy local pub for a beer and discussed her new work. She has just recently launched her new collection of digital printed fabrics, upholstery and furniture which are created using breakthrough environmental technologies. Take a look at our chat below!  

Good evening, to start off with a quote from your Instagram, explaining that your work covers ‘meticulous attention to detail in how the furniture looks and performs and to the way in which it is made’. This debate of form and function is a timeless argument in textiles, but your work extends this to include form, function and process, why are all these aspects important to you personally?

 

Corrine: My aesthetic has always been about my work being comfortable, if something is not comfortable it is not fit for purpose. This includes the materials within the furniture where I use FSC certified wood, they are then stained with Eco-stain, and the cushions are stuffed with coconut fibres for fillings. The fabrics themselves have fire resistant wool inter lines to reassure customers about fire standards. The fabrics are sourced from recycled cotton or polyester and then digitally printed used special inks. The products are made with integrity. This is the long term goal; it has been considered but has been made realistic. It’s only when the customers start asking for it and there is a higher demand, then I can expand.

 

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'My aesthetic has always been about my work being comfortable, if something is not comfortable it is not fit for purpose'

You mentioned about the strict standards your work adheres to. I noticed your new rug ensures that the production is set to strict guidelines regarding ethical purchases supporting families and communities in India and Nepal. Where did your passion for ethical sourcing and environmental awareness develop from?

 

Corrine: All my work is wool made, and all the materials are Good Weave certified which means that the process adheres to strict guidelines. So there is no child labour involved, and that then stems to the suppliers that all the materials and upholstery is certified checked. I guess the main inspiration came from my travels to South America, where I witnessed another selling route that could be possible. This led me to wanting to raise awareness and highlight the particular skills that these craftsman possess.

 

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How do your production methods meet environmentally friendly certification, while still retaining a high-quality product? Do you find this is an issue in some cases?

 

Corrine: It can be an issue during the finishing end of the project, where sometimes you have to re-do the manufacturing process if something has gone wrong. Yes, this can be an issue but I believe in reinforcing the values of the work, which includes in being honest with the clients or companies that I am selling to.  This integrity means maintaining the quality of the product even if the production time is extended to manufacturing complications.

'All my work is wool made, and all the materials are Good Weave certified which means that the process adheres to strict guidelines'

You mentioned that you use coconut fibre, sheep’s wool and hessian as some of your materials, what led you to this decision to use such materials?

 

Corrine: All of the materials that I use in my chairs, none of it’s a secret, you can find it, but you just need to dig a little further and harder to find it. Also, you need to push your manufacturers to use them, for example, my chair makers, they do many different things, they install contract seating and major retail chains, as well as do my chairs. They have a really good relationship with the sustainable materials manufacturers, who supply and match them up in this industry. So we were able to go down this line and develop products that were sustainable but prior to that, I had been in contact with other upholstery manufacturers and they were not willing to work for me, because the materials that I wanted to use disrupted their production chain If they used foam all of the time, then switching to another material, disrupts their production line, which leads to cuts and their margin. Designers have to contend with, is to find manufacturers that are willing to be behind them and believe in their work and what they are trying to do, and want to invest in that. I think it is all interlinked, I think it’s only by companies, designers, product developers trying to push that agenda, it becomes easier.

 

 All rights reserved ©Frame & Cover 2017

Just to end by quoting your philosophy on your website that ‘using sustainable materials that don’t cause harm to our world is as much at the heart of Frame & Cover as the design of our products’. Do you believe that this cohesion of sustainability and design should be the fore-thinking now when creating new work?

 

Corrine: Yes, I absolutely 100% believe that when you’re designing a product you should have in mind how that product is going to impact the environment, and look to try and minimise its impact as much as you can do. Obviously, designing a car, you’re going to find that difficult to completely get the full outcome. I think that designing products, such as home furnishings or whatever, if you do your research you can find your way around things, and its only when designers or product developers start asking things more, then they need to start encouraging companies to develop products that would fit that brief or invest more in sustainable materials. It’s also about finding someone who shares your beliefs, that’s the other challenge or obstacle. So for example, I am trying to develop a footstool at the moment, and there is a whole email chain about how we’re going to do this, do we put springs in it? Do we do this and that? And at the top of my emails, the materials guys are like ‘well we’ve been testing this development for packed wool’, and I was like 'sounds perfect, let’s get testing it and see how it goes!'. On paper I want to use this, and it’s going to bring down the cost here, everything is sustainable, less of this, making it more viable for the market.  It was great that they had already been testing that, but for designers like myself, I’m like that sounds great, I want to use that, you just have to push a little harder and stuff does take longer. I was working on the products for my company or three years before I launched them, so to me this company is already 4 years old. These things take time, it’s that belief of being able to choose your vision, then you make it happen, you just need to know that it just takes time.

 

'I absolutely 100% believe that when you’re designing a product you should have in mind how that product is going to impact the environment'

All images from ©Frame & Cover 2017

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