Jenna Fletcher has built a career around her magpie’s eye for truly spectacular furniture – launching her first dedicated interiors shop, Oswalde, in the middle of lockdown. The largely vintage stock marketed via its Instagram page is what one Vogue editor described as “sell-your-kidneys” covetable; think modular Kartell bookshelves produced exclusively between 1969 and 1975 and U-shaped magazine racks by Rodolfo Bonetto from a similar time period. So, it’s a serious endorsement that Fletcher leapt to collaborate with Nigeria-based nmbello Studio the moment she stumbled upon founder Nifemi Marcus-Bello’s creations.
“I genuinely believe that his pieces are cult objects,” she enthuses over the phone, the week before Marcus-Bello’s LM Stool and Selah Lamp drop on Oswalde. “His eye, his hand – I’m obsessed. I learned about his work through [British Vogue’s fashion director] Julia Sarr-Jamois, who has the LM Stool, and I was like, ‘What is that?’ She has the pure blue one, and it’s just so striking.” One extremely long Zoom call later, and she had become nmbello Studio’s exclusive British and European supplier.
Marcus-Bello first developed the LM Stool after discovering a Lagos factory manufacturing “metal casings for electrical power generators” using sheet metal. (Generators have a key role in the Nigerian capital due to the lack of 24-hour electricity in many homes.) Working with the pliable metal, he set out to rework the classic three or four-legged stool – subtracting as much as possible without compromising its balance. Come 6 June, the finished result will be available via Oswalde in glossy red and blue or matte black and white for £385. Expect the stools to have taken over your Instagram feed within the fortnight.
Just as desirable? The Selah Lamp, made from one flat sheet of metal painted in blue or orange, with a shade of recycled mahogany. While it can of course be used as a light (note the wires running up its vertical frame), it, too, can function as a stool. “nmbello Studio’s designs are both conscious and people-centric, and Nifemi has a really similar ethos to me generally,” Fletcher adds. “With Oswalde moving towards nurturing the next generation of Black talent in the design world, the collaboration just made perfect sense.”
This originally appeared on Vogue UK | Hayley Maitland