Use of strong colour is key to the beauty of Coucou Manou’s designs. Designer and maker Nell Beale says “I love pattern and colour. More and more I seem to use the pieces I design as canvasses. Colour has always been hugely important to me throughout my life, from the clothes that I picked as a teenager to the way I decorate my own house. When I see a particular colour, it can make me really nostalgic. I love playing with colour schemes and I want to make beautiful things that make people go Wow.”
Based near Bath, Coucou Manou make furniture, mainly to order, using a mix of veneered sheet materials, solid timbers and Valchromat, a high quality high density fibre board that is created ecologically from existing wood waste, dyed throughout so that the colour is solid. These materials are precision-cut to Nell’s specifications which she develops in consultation with a local CNC company, carefully asssessing the possibilities, pitfalls and solutions to potential issues. After cutting, the components come back to her rural workshop, where she uses her cabinet making skills to join, sand, hand assemble, paint and finish each piece of furniture.
Nell was part of Crafts Council’s Injection programme in 2015 and joined the Design-Nation portfolio in 2017.