Sabine Marcelis creates candy-coloured donut seats for Hem

Sabine Marcelis and Hem unveil their ‘Boa’ pouf, two years in the making and a delightful play on the Rotterdam-based designer's recurrent donut motif

Donut shaped pouf, table and chairs
The donut-shaped ‘Boa’ pouf by Sabine Marcelis for Hem, photographed at the designer’s Rotterdam home
(Image credit: TITIA HAHNE)

Sabine Marcelis and Swedish furniture company Hem hit the sweet spot with their first collaboration, a pouf in the shape of a donut in pastel shades.

‘I have this fascination and love for the donut shape,’ explains Rotterdam designer Marcelis, who was named Wallpaper’s Designer of the Year in 2020 and joined the jury for the 2021 Design Awards. ‘It's just such a perfectly complete and finite shape. Simple yet not boring. And the curve and void create a beautiful depth in almost all materials.’

The motif has been a recurring theme throughout Marcelis’ recent work, with rugs and toilet paper holders created by the designer using the shape in different sizes and configurations. Every Christmas, Marcelis sells resin donut shapes as decorations, often made from left-over resin from other projects, to raise funds for charitable organisations.

Woman sat on a Donut shaped pouf

Sabine Marcelis sits on her yellow donut-shaped ‘Boa’ pouf for Hem at her home in Rotterdam

(Image credit: TITIA HAHNE)

The plush, foam-filled, round lounge seat is as aesthetically pleasing as it is ergonomically comfortable – both for sitting upright and lounging. It’s a duality that brings to mind Lina Bo Bardi’s ‘Bowl’ chair, whose double nature is updated here with a thoroughly contemporary aesthetic.

I have this fascination and love for the donut: it’s just such a perfectly complete and finite shape

Sabine Marcelis

The pouf’s effortless appearance (as if it was simply inflated) took two years of development and roughly a dozen prototypes – the result fits in well with Hem’s progressive and experimental nature, and it’s a perfect debut for Marcelis’ within the company’s collection. The seat is available in candy-coloured hues of yellow, pink and white, upholstered to create a shape that is as perfectly smooth as possible.

Trio of Donut shaped poufs

A trio of Marcelis' ‘Boa’ poufs in candy shades of Sulfur Yellow, Cotton Candy and Oatmeal

(Image credit: TITIA HAHNE)

In 2020, Hem presented a new brand identity by Made Thought, expressing the company’s forward-thinking approach, in line with its motto, ‘imaginative designs of obsessive quality’. The new collection certainly embodies the sentiment.

‘I wanted the pouf to be soft and pleasant to sit on,’ continues Marcelis. ‘The original design was finished in a rubber coating and meant for fleeting moments of sitting. The “Boa” pouf should be a seat where you can spend as much time on as you like.’

Woman looking at designs

Marcelis working on resin prototypes and sketches for the ‘Boa’ pouf for Hem

(Image credit: TITIA HAHNE)

A series of resin donuts

A series of resin donuts by Marcelis – a recurring motif throughout her work

(Image credit: TITIA HAHNE)

yellow pouf by Marcelis

The yellow pouf by Marcelis

(Image credit: TITIA HAHNE)


Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.

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