Some magic worlds are found at the back of wardrobes, down rabbit holes, or in between platforms 9 and 10 at Kings Cross. I recently discovered another down an unprepossessing alley in Sydenham of all places. Behind a large industrial door, lies Yasemen’s world. It doesn’t extend far, and includes only a two storey converted stable and a small garden at one end, all surrounded by high walls. Yasemen Hussein lives and works here, and out of her workshop come a frenzy of magical, sculptural objects, in metals, glass and concrete, to adorn the home, and the body. Her prodigious output includes, chandeliers and chaise longues, goblets and bracelets, crowns and candlesticks. She has worked with Phillip Treacy, and Candy & Candy, and her bewitching designs have been worn on stage and catwalk by Katy Perry, Will-i-am and Britney Spears.
When I arrive for the day, sparks are literally flying in her workshop. Copper antlers and gilded feathers lie on the worktop, beneath a shrine to her two heroes, Aubrey Beardsley and Freddie Mercury. Beardsley’s swirls are much in evidence in Yasemen’s work, while Freddie’s exuberance and energy have clearly rubbed off on her.
Far from being your usual interiors story, this shoot was destined to be epic tale, from those first sparks in the workshop to the little loft apartment above, furnished with some of her creations, to meeting a host of mythical characters on the way, and culminating in a candle-lit alfresco feast of Bacchanalian proportions.