Sir Paul Smith on the importance of a good shed

Sir Paul Smith on the importance of a good shed

Shed Built by Nathalie de Leval
Illustration Fanny Gentle

A Hole & Corner lifestyle is one that’s lived hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world – do you find that this is increasingly important today?
I love Hole & Corner for that very reason. I think it’s a magazine that respects craft and the world of artisans. Unfortunately there’s so much horror and sadness in the world today, which becomes especially apparent if you read the news; also it’s moving so quickly, there’s a tranquility to all the subjects that Hole & Corner specialises in that is very much needed!

Why do you think every man craves a shed?
I would say that it goes back to the idea of boys’ toys and hobbies. It’s a chance to take up something again  that might have been of interest to you when you were a teenager, like woodwork, model-building or listening to music. Often in a house, especially if you’ve got a young family, it’s not really possible to continue with some of those hobbies, so a shed is a form of escapism. I’m not quite sure why it’s men in particular who love sheds – but there’s certainly something very private about a shed, it’s like a little private cave you can go and hide in!

Is a shed for you a place for ‘doing’ or for contemplating?
At the moment it would be for contemplating because I get very little time to myself, but you would imagine for a lot of people it would be about pursuing hobbies they’d maybe given up many years before.

Is your garden a refuge from work?
The morning of my women’s show in London I often do a bit of sweeping in the garden and clean the birdbath, which is a perfect way to prepare!

What elements are needed for the perfect shed?
Well I recently designed a shed which was on show at the Victoria & Albert Museum as part of this year’s London Design Festival. One side of the shed was entirely made out of glass, which provides a beautiful vista of wherever it’s placed and you can actually rotate the entire thing which means your view can change as the direction of the window moves. And it’s made out of beautiful American ash, which has a nice smell and a real elegance to it as it’s been cut but not planed.

Do you let other people into your shed, or is it just for you?
Ideally it would be private, but occasionally I would allow people in – if they knew the password that is!


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