The Danish designer travelled to Murano, Italy, to develop the mouth-blown, hand-made pieces for the 'Cellophane Clouds' collection
Many may know Sophie Bille Brahe for her iconic diamond and pearl jewellery, prized amongst the savviest fashion crowds. But her interior designs are quickly becoming equally just as beloved. Chances are you have seen her dreamy cloud-like side tables, zebra-printed day bed or delicate polished steel jewellery box within the homes of your most discerning friends, if not pinned to many an interior inspiration board.
Now, the latest covetable pieces to be welcomed to the Sophie Bille Brahe universe are a line of unique vases. As precious to the designer as her jewellery, they are hand-made on the Italian island of Murano – known for its centuries-old glass-blowing tradition.
Here, we sit down with Bille Brahe to get the low-down on the dreamy designs of the range: from a pearl-shaped creation to the now-iconic 'Escargot' shape.
Designer Sophie Bille Brahe. Photo: Josefine Seifert
"It's really important for me to make a universe around the jewellery pieces that I create,” Sophie Bille Brahe tells me from her home, on a rainy morning in Copenhagen. “Jewellery is just one outlet of my creative thoughts. There are so many things that I feel like I still want to explore. Like my jewellery, my interior designs represent different parts of my life in which there is always a personal story attached,” she explains.
“This Murano project represents freedom to me. Freedom after some very different years. There was Covid, I had a daughter who is now three, and while this was all happening my company grew. It felt like the right timing, and I felt ready for new things to begin in my life.”
The feeling of these muted colours and clouds created a dreamy start of something new within a world that I love. That is what 'Cellophane Clouds' represents to me.
Sophie Bille Brahe
The collection is called 'Cellophane Clouds' which is – just like all that Bille Brahe creates – a name that was chosen very intentionally. She remembers going into her garden on a very early morning and experiencing this feeling of freedom in new beginnings. “I compare it to the feeling when I stepped out into the garden on an early spring morning. There's morning dew on the flowers and the grass. It's not cloudy but everything is these bright soft colours and you know the day is starting. The feeling of these muted colours and clouds created a dreamy start of something new within a world that I love. That is what 'Cellophane Clouds' represents to me.”
The new collection marks the first full series from Bille Brahe when it comes to interiors, and the designer knew from the start it had to be vases. “When I create a new design, whether that is jewellery or interior, it is always something that I feel I am missing in my universe. Things that I would like to wear, things I would like to look at. In a way, I think that vases represent the same feeling as jewellery,” Bille Brahe says.
“It’s something precious that you take with you throughout your life. I have vases I got from my mother and grandmother, vases that I love and collected myself, just like I have with jewellery. Though you are not wearing vases, they represent memories.” Then again, she didn’t want to do ‘just’ vases. “I wanted it to be connected to my jewellery. I asked myself, ‘How can we do a gigantic pearl vase?”.
Not only did Bille Brahe know it should be vases, but glass vases specifically – with glass being a pure and high-quality material like the pearls and diamonds she usually works with. “I like to design things that live for a long time, that can be passed on and continue to exist generation after generation. The rich history of finishing glass is precious. Yet, I was frightened at the same time to use a new material that I was not used to working with. As a designer, I feel a great obligation to treat the materials as well as possible because they are so precious.”
This sense of obligation drove Bille Brahe to Murano to work with the glass blowers herself, experiencing how they created these marvellous pieces. “Going to Venice and Murano, and working with these incredibly talented people that have been working on this beautiful craft their whole life, was very special and a challenge at the same time. It’s very different from gold; with glass, you only have a few seconds to manipulate the material when it’s still warm,” she states.
"I only create things that I am convinced of that, in one way or another, bring something new and exciting into my world, and hopefully that of others, too."
Sophie Bille Brahe
“Bear in mind that I don't speak Italian, and they don’t speak a lot of English. Yet I am a person who can speak all languages by using my hands," she says, laughing, "and I somehow manage to explain my vision.” This resulted in pearl shaped vases representing one of her most used materials, the Mother of Pearl, and ‘Escargot’ vases – referencing the 'Escargot' design in diamond rings and earrings.
It's a rarity for Bille Brahe to launching a small collection of objects like 'Cellophane Clouds' at once, as the designer usually prefers to take her time with individual pieces and details. “Up until four years ago, I didn’t have any forks in my home. So, every time people would come for dinner, they would need to bring their forks because I never found ones that I like,” she recounts, laughing.
"In a way, I think that represents me as a person and designer: I prefer not having things if I haven't found the exact one I want. It’s the same with my designs – I only create things that I am convinced of that, in one way or another, bring something new and exciting into my world, and hopefully that of others, too."
The limited-edition 'Cellophane Clouds' vases collection is available now on the Sophie Bille Brahe webshop and showroom in Copenhagen.