Perhaps there is no more fitting a time to appreciate the work of an individual who brings the lush, unbridled beauty of outside in than this very moment. Frieda Gormley does just that with her imaginative London-based interiors brand House of Hackney. Drawing inspiration from the wealth of forms & flora found in the natural world, Gormley has managed to capture the very essence of wildlife in her now iconic and sumptuously colored wallpapers, among other visuals. As a company deeply inspired by the power of botanicals ourselves, we knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sit down with Frieda to discuss everything from mushrooms to mantras. Read below.
If you were a plant, what plant would you be and why?
I would be the humble mushroom because of its many superpowers—from how it can rejuvenate soil through the mycelium network to its incredible health benefits (mushrooms are immunity-boosting, anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, anti-aging… the list goes on)
Your most recent oHHo moment? (When you felt most calm, in the zone, happy, etc..)
I love the early morning magic of the sunrise and being woken up at dawn by chorus of birds. It conjures a real sense of hope for what the day ahead could bring.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The only moment we have is the present one, so enjoy it for what it is.
What role does nature play in your design process? How does your work explore the relationship between art and nature?
For each collection, we always cite Mother Nature as our muse. While everything we create is made to bring the sublime beauty of the outdoors in, our designs are also symbolic of the natural world’s plight and need to be safeguarded.
When life gives you lemons, you…
Remind yourself that it’s all part of the journey. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again (not forgetting to make yourself a nice gin & tonic with a big slice of lemon in it).
If you had to create an oHHo inspired wallpaper, what qualities would it have and why?
I adore the William Morris ‘Hyacinth’ print, which always reminds me of the Cannabis plant—so I think my oHHo wallpaper would be inspired by its beautiful composition, but imbued with color and mood-enhancing properties!
One memory that instantly makes you smile?
Meeting my husband & co-founder of House of Hackney, Javvy, 14 years ago.
How can someone transform their indoor living space to make quarantine more pleasurable?
If you have the time, now is a wonderful opportunity to dabble in a bit of DIY—you can buy all the kits you need online. We also have a handy guide on the House of Hackney website which shows you how to hang wallpaper all by yourself (it’s a lot easier than you might think). Otherwise, something as simple as rearranging your bookshelves or tidying up a neglected drawer can be a positive step towards transforming your living space. I find even opening up the windows and bringing in a few flowers from the garden can have a transformative effect.
What is your daily wellness ritual and/or mantra?
It’s quite simple and nature-based, and as much for the mind as it is for the body: to sweat once a day (usually during a run with my son and dog) followed by a cold shower or a cold swim in the estuary. I greatly admire Wim Hof, the Dutch athlete nicknamed “The Iceman”, who teaches how to withstand extreme cold temperatures. Using his method, I’ve been able to swim all year round for the first time. I also love a daily cup of turmeric and ginger in water, as well as a diet full of leafy green—as an animal & earth lover, I’ve been a vegetarian for years. In terms of a mantra, it would be to live in the here and now. I am actively learning and training myself to be more present.
If your walls could talk, what would they be saying right now?
We have recently moved to a very old house in Cornwall that we’re now renovating, so I would imagine that the walls are grateful for the careful restoration and preservation work that we’re doing! I think the walls will be even happier when they receive a coat of beautiful, botanical wallpaper soon…