Works of art
Cushions are more than just something to throw on the sofa as Charlotte Pearson finds out.
Art comes in all shapes and forms, from carvings to canvas, sculpture to stencils. But there seems to be something else which has been overlooked.
“I love cushions,” Chandni Haynes, of Stil Haven, enthuses. “I look at them like art, but instead of putting it on your walls you put them on your sofa, bed or chair.
“I think cushions provide a focal point in a room.”
The business, based in Haywards Heath, prides itself on the fact each cushion is unique and exclusive, having been designed and hand painted by Chandni.
When describing her style Chandni says her cushions have a contemporary twist.
“Nothing I do will be traditional, I like the twist,” she reveals. “I have two styles, the contemporary one and modern country living.”
A trained graphic designer, Chandni started her career as a product designer at prestigious interiors brand Sanderson, before moving to retailer John Lewis.
“It was a dream come true,” she recalls. “I worked with them as a textile designer for three years and had great commercial success.
“I learned a lot while I was there, but it got to a point when I thought I could do this myself.”
Launching Stil Haven in November 2014, Chandni decided to start by selling cushions.
“With people that love fashion they usually have a favourite accessory such as a scarf or bag, but for homeware it has got to be cushions,” she smiles.
“You can pick them up and move them about. It is an easy way to update a look and room by adding a new design or colour.”
With her previous experience Chandni looks at trend and market research, which means she understands what will be a commercial success.
“Most of the time I get it right,” she says. “Sometimes when I am designing I have to shelve designs maybe for another collection or just a future date.
“The designs don’t always fit, I have to always evaluate what I am doing.”
Once she hand-paints the designs the cushions are then made in the UK, something she is really proud of.
“I design the collections in groups of four, always an even number as people don’t just buy one they buy two or four,” she says.
“Some designs surprise me, the ones I think will do really well never do much and then others just fly off.”
In her previous role Chandni had to work 18 months in advance and still now she is already thinking about autumn, and spring/summer 2016.
“The trends for autumn, which I am working on at the moment is all about graphics and overlaying them to create different textures,” reveals Chandni.
“I attend trade shows to find out the latest trends and what is going on. I am going to Paris and New York this year which is very exciting.”
With designs that appeal to all, Chandni hopes her cushions spread a bit of character, colour and joy in a room, and very much sees them as collectibles.
“I wanted to create something that appealed to adults and children,” she enthuses.
“This is where the sausage dog collection came from, I just thought everyone loves sausage dogs and it went from there.”
So does she have a favourite design?
“I love the sheep,” Chandni says. “I didn’t realise how popular they would be.
“I have designed a new product line with them in mind so it will be interesting to see how well that goes down.”
When it comes to art forget about your walls and invest in a cushion or four.
After all, who doesn’t love art you can snuggle up to?
To have a look at Stil Haven’s collections, visit www.stilhaven.com
Stil Haven is on Twitter, just search @stilhaven and also Facebook, you can ‘like’ it here – www.facebook.com/stilhaven
Chandni is keen to find local stockists. For more on this visit the website.
Stil Haven launching a design service…
“It will be an interior styling service where we can work with a client for a bespoke service,” Chandni explains.
“We will find out their needs, create a mood board and then design a bespoke collection for them.”
Where did the name Stil Haven come from?
“Stil Haven in Nordic means style haven,” Chandni reveals. “No one can ever say my name so I thought this was nice and easy.
“It also sums up the ethos of the brand perfectly.”
Photos provided by Stil Haven
March 26, 2015 Interiors and Property