Meet vintage entrepreneur Eva Coppens, who founded the beautiful brand Forest London at just 25.
Forest London is a treasure trove of stunning 20th century furniture nestled in the heart of Clerkenwell, a historical quarter of central London celebrated for its community of designers and creative studios. With an emphasis on Dutch and Scandinavian furniture, Forest is something of gem for fellow design lovers and a feast of beautiful minimalist aesthetic design. Forest was founded by Eva seven years ago – when she just 25. How does someone so young have a such a discerning eye for celebrated vintage design and the vision to establish a business around it? Now based in Amsterdam, Eva told us all about the early days of Forest and how training in fashion ultimately lead her to furniture design.
- Can you tell us about the story behind Forest London?
Whilst I was studying Fashion Management at the London College of Fashion I hosted my first pop up shop in Clerkenwell with mid century Scandinavian furniture and design pieces and got a great reaction. I loved the work and the customers that were drawn to the pieces. During my studies I did another pop up and when I finally finished my degree I signed a lease for a space in Clerkenwell aged 25, which is now 7 years ago.
- Why did you choose the name Forest?
As nature is such a key influence and inspiration for all Scandinavian design, I wanted a name for my venture that reflected this.
- What kickstarted your passion for furniture design?
My parents always had pieces of furniture and design around the house that were interesting – some of which were Scandinavian. I was particularly drawn to these pieces. During my studies I always loved Scandinavian fashion brands with their clean lines, minimalist approach and focus on comfort and useability. This ultimately brought me back to Scandinavian furniture design. The great thing about midcentury design for me is also that it is completely the opposite from the fast-paced and season-orientated character of the fashion industry, but I can still work with materials (when I choose upholstery for pieces to be upholstered) and work with beautifully designed pieces.
- Can you tell us about the furniture you source?
I always source pieces that I love myself and would have in my own home. Other than that I always try and have pieces available in different price ranges – this way a young couple can buy a dining set from us, the same way a collector can buy a high end designer piece.
- What do you love most about vintage furniture?
It’s not bound to any trends or seasons – it’s an investment you make in something you want to spend a long time living with, which makes it a very special and unique thing for me.
- Have you ever kept a piece of furniture you couldn’t bear to see go?
I’ve had pieces flow in and out of my home that I couldn’t bear to sell right away, however with lifestyle changes (having kids makes a big difference to which pieces work in a home!) and moving house have made me have to let go of some of them.
- What’s a vintage trend you would like to see make a comeback?
I love delicately caned and woven doors and backs of chairs. They just add such a beautiful character to a piece.
Meet Eva in six quick facts…
The best thing about living in Amsterdam is… being able to cycle around town with my daughter in the front seat and not having to use public transport to get around.
My favourite way to spend a day off is… a whole day off never happens – both my partner and I have our own business so we always juggle looking after our daughter and working! However the parks in Amsterdam are pretty great and the beach is a train ride away so there are some nice options!
The best gift I’ve ever received is… the trust and support of my parents that allowed me to set up my own business at such a young age.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose… Chatsworth Road E5, London.
In my fridge you’ll always find… like a real Dutchie: cheese!
My number one tip for creating a beautiful home is… choose the right lighting. Multiple light levels and different lamps is what I think makes a space work, and having plants as well- which is why I started a bespoke plant styling company with my sister in Amsterdam where we do private and commercial plant styling and care.
Title image credit: design-milk.com