Above Image: The Igman lounge chair by Zanat
Growing up in Marin County, Jenne Wicht was mindful of sustainability issues at a young age. She recalls scouring flea markets for furniture to refinish and recover, and building a coffee table from reclaimed wine crates. Her environmental consciousness ultimately merged with a passion for design when she founded JAK W, an interiors practice and showroom that specializes in green living. Since launching the company in 2009, Wicht has showcased a portfolio of studios—from textile makers to furniture fabricators—from around the globe. In November 2019, Wicht opened a new JAK W showroom at the SFDC, featuring international collections from Alias (Italy), Bolon (Sweden), Libeco (Belgium), and many others, all of which share her environmental commitment.
Wicht maintains close ties with her fifteen-plus lines, and JAK W is the exclusive Northern California purveyor for most of them. “We date for a while before deciding that we want to make it official,” Wicht says with a laugh. “We spend a lot of time getting to know them.” During the vetting process, she asks about materials (where and how they’re sourced, what becomes of the waste), factories (Wicht makes a point of visiting them), and certifications (including ISO and Greenguard).
Wicht’s eco-friendly focus resonates with residential clients, and has made her firm a favorite among companies with stringent sustainability policies. San Francisco’s Feldman Architecture enlisted JAK W to assist with product procurement for a space in the Salesforce Tower, and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson called on Wicht and her team to design custom rugs for Twitter’s offices. “We know about the manufacturing, production, and capabilities of these factories on such an intimate level,” she says of the makers JAK W represents. “We know where to go to help realize the designer’s vision.”
Camille throw and pillows by Libeco
Hagga rug by Kasthall
The Salesforce and Twitter spaces include creations by Kasthall, a 131-year-old Swedish rug and textile-flooring brand. “When you’re in the factory, you hear the weaving and the tufting—there’s this rhythm to it, and it’s just magical,” says Wicht, whose longstanding relationship with Kasthall also yielded bespoke concepts for an Adobe campus. Another company she works with, Modus, stands out not only for its meticulously constructed furniture, but for its carbon neutrality, achieved by drawing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and planting trees in the vicinity of its Somerset, England, facility, among other initiatives.
Bosnia-based Zanat, a recent addition to JAK W’s roster, uses sustainably sourced woods and a UNESCO-protected hand-carving technique passed down through generations to create its sculptural seating, case goods, tables, and accessories. The studio has also partnered on pieces with design forces like Ilse Crawford and Sebastian Herkner. While Wicht has yet to tour the Zanat factory in person, that’s on her post-pandemic checklist. In the meantime, she splits her days between San Francisco and Sonoma—both of which are home to JAK W showrooms that “are meant to be places of inspiration,” she says. “We’ve always been concerned with creating resources for designers and homeowners so people can learn about the products and environmental stories, and get deeper into the craft.”