Jes­sica Hel­ger­son

With a con­sid­ered and eco-friendly ap­proach, this Amer­i­can’s epony­mous prac­tice will be mak­ing waves in 2018

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents -

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’

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