With a considered and eco-friendly approach, this American’s eponymous practice will be making waves in 2018
With an eco-friendly approach, this interior designer is making waves
Although her studio produces contemporary and fussfree interiors and furniture from Portland, Oregon – known as one of the USA’S hipster hotspots – Jessica Helgerson manages to mix her thoroughly of-themoment style with an art historian’s respect for the past and a green warrior’s focus on the future.
Helgerson decided to set up her own practice after becoming disillusioned by the lack of ethical and environmental awareness of the architect she worked for as a newly qualified designer. Her studio now employs a team of ten, working from a former rail repair workshop in the old town in Portland, which they converted themselves. ‘As a practice, our mission is to try to leave no environmental trace,’ she explains.
While Helgerson and her team do follow the fashions of furniture, they also want to create something that clients will love for many years – ‘we think carefully about how our projects are permanent,’ she adds. Using locally-sourced materials is important to her, too. ‘ We’re based near the north Pacific – it’s woody and wet – so we work largely with Oregon white oak, Portland’s walnut goby tree and Douglas fir,’ explains Helgerson. ‘ We collaborate with a trusted group of tile makers, metalworkers and upholsterers, and design about half of our furniture, making it bespoke. The rest is either salvaged, antique or new.’
The designer thrives on variety. ‘ We’ve worked on the interiors of a laundrette and a paediatric office,’ she says. ‘Not glam, but mixing it up keeps us fresh.’ At the moment, she’s working on repurposing a church into a centre for the homeless, and creating a coffee shop in a former Brooklyn fire station. Her dream project? ‘An old hotel in Europe,’ she says. ‘I love it there.’ We look forward to seeing more of her interiors on this side of the Pacific ( jhinteriordesign.com).
‘AS A PRACTICE, OUR MISSION IS TO TRY TO LEAVE NO ENVIRONMENTAL TRACE’