How emerging brand Wawa gives new life to your old furniture
Beckmans College of Design student Axel Wahl designs cushions to encourage people to think more sustainably while still experimenting with colours at home.
8 Nov 2022

Currently in his last year pursuing Visual Communication at Beckmans College of Design, Wahl has been tufting cushions for almost three years for his brand Wawa. Demand for his creations have been high and one of Wahl’s customers includes Norwegian indie-pop singer, Girl in Red.

As tufting requires a specific technique, Wahl decided to create his designs within the framework that would allow him to be experimental while still respecting the movement of the machine. The result became two different prints — a checkered and the classic Wawa swirl. 

— The pattern I use to design the cushions really came from the tufting technique. It’s like working with a grid. When you fasten the canvas on a frame and use the tufting machine, the threads are moving vertically and horizontally — creating a kind of pixel grid. And so I wanted to stay within that framework and adapt the way I design to fit that, Wahl continues.

The cushions are inspiring people to not only find the perfect secondhand stools to match their Wawa carpet cushion with, but also experiment with a bit more colour and prints at home. While Scandinavia is known for playing with the classic, cream, white and grey colour tones, Wahl is hoping that a pop of colour will push people to play around more with their interiors.

Photography: Wasim Harwill

— A cushion is quite a small object in your home, compared to everything else. My goal is to offer something that may be small, but that can make an impact on a whole room. It feels like people often go for the ‘safe choice’ when picking furniture and I get it, you might not want to buy a bright pink kitchen table with matching chairs. But you could have a pink cushion and move it around whenever you feel that it might brighten some other room.

More and more people are purchasing secondhand furniture and the Aalto Artek stool is a staple piece in Scandinavian homes.

— I also always show my cushions on actual stools and people go ‘I want a cushion but I need to find the perfect chair first’, and I like that, because the two go hand-in-hand. You should take your time to find the perfect piece of furniture instead of buying the first thing. Or people are reaching out to say that the cushion I made has given their old chairs a new life. I like that they are giving forgotten objects a new meaning and a second chance, Wahl concludes.