Hussein studied glass work in Illinois, learned “the tricks of the trade of concrete” in California and now sculpts the most intricate copper pieces imaginable in her converted stable house in south London. Her metal feathers juxtapose elegance and lightness with the heft of their source material and are commissioned to act as light fittings, or interior centrepieces of varying sizes. “But nothing is ever the same twice and because of the way I work, every piece is a total original.”
Some very diverse elements go into the creative mix at Yasemen Hussein’s studio. There’s a mountain of electrical cable, a shelf full of 1970s copper vases retrieved from the windows of local charity shops, some heavy duty welding equipment and… a concrete mixer. “I’m inspired by mythology, the Italian renaissance and poetry,” she says. “Basically – beauty. And that could be Dolly Parton or Aubrey Beardsley.” Her work is as exuberant and fantastical as it is organic, and she works at any scale – from making intricate objects for a Tim Walker set, to creating vast and dramatic sculptures for atrium spaces.
Recent commissions include a series of elaborate bespoke copper wigs for the V&A’s ‘Opera: Passion, Power and Politics’ exhibition, giant entwined feathers for the André Fu-designed cocktail bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi, and a highly intricate permanent lobby installation for Clarges Mayfair, central London’s most exclusive and luxurious real estate project to date.
Mark C. O’Flaherty