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Treasured: Donna Wilson on her favourite possession

The east London-based designer on the piece she’ll cherish forever, however threadbare it gets

donna wilson at home
Rick Pushinsky

‘I’ve always loved Ercol Originals from the 1950s and 60s. I’m drawn to their classic, smooth lines and warm-toned wood. Plus, it’s a British heritage brand that still manufactures here, which should be celebrated. So I was thrilled when I was invited to collaborate with Ercol in2011. It was the year after I won the ELLE Decoration Designer of the Year award, and the company had seen some of the furniture I’d designed for SCP, including the ‘Motley’ ottoman and ‘Hue’ sofa.

I studied textiles and have always been interested in texture and colour, so I wanted to create more of a statement with Ercol’s ‘Studio Couch’. At the time, I was very into wool wrapping. Just a few years before I had created a 20-square-metre outdoor maze by wrapping fence posts with rainbow-coloured yarn. So I wove multicoloured wool around the arms of the couch, then designed a knitted cover, inspired by a Finnish wallcovering I have.

We eventually put the couch in the living room where it took pride of place. Not long after, I was at home with my two boys and was busy in the kitchen when I suddenly noticed it had gone very quiet.I walked into the living room and saw a pair of scissors on the floor, a big hole cut out of the couch – and two small boys looking shifty. Needless to say, I was very upset and to this day neither of them has owned up to it! Now, I think of it like a body with a scar that tells a story, so it’s a piece I’ll treasure even more. donnawilson.com

This article appeared in ELLE Decoration April 2020

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