Sage was born into a family of makers and immersed in the eclectic design and intentional craft in Scandinavia, Spain, and the American Southwest. This juxtaposition of desert and sea—living in the wild, lawless creativity of New Mexico and the refined, sensible beauty of Finland—informs her life and work.
She is a visionary stylist, designer, and art director working behind the scenes of the country’s most renowned creatives, from mainstream icons like Oprah and Lady Gaga, to legendary brands like Herman Miller and Miramax, to the United States’ most celebrated cultural institutions like Steppenwolf and the Whitney Museum, to avant-garde artists MacArthur winner Mary Zimmerman and Catherine Sullivan.
Sage Reed was born in West Virginia, and delivered by Hunter Doherty "Patch" Adams, the famous doctor, social activist, and comedian. As a toddler, she spent time with her Finnish grandparents on the white sands of Nerja, Spain, surrounded by the perfume of paella and lavender. She and her family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, an epicenter of vibrant, creative life. She attended a one-room schoolhouse, foraged in the debris of old mining towns and auto yards, and started selling handmade beaded goods. She traveled often to her mother’s homeland of Finland, nurturing a love for moss, cardamom, scandinvian simplicity and design.
As a teenager, Sage worked for Morton Subotnick, a seminal avant-garde electronic music composer, and traveled in his orbit of artists and collaborators. At 19, she moved to Chicago and, for a decade, worked at the city’s most renowned theatres -- Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, and University of Chicago’s Court Theater -- in design, costuming, and prop creation. Each production was an intellectual exploration and portal into another world and culture. At 2008, Sage transitioned as a set decorator with Oprah Winfrey at Harpo Studios. She has also worked on feature-length films, museum exhibits, shows, and pop-ups. She is skilled at installation, event production, creative direction and fabrication for photography, film, and installation.
“Working in sets and costumes combines my love of objects, spacial design, experience and an innate ability to unearth strange things. Constructing an environment whether assembling the minutia of a tabletop composition, or orchestrating a grand scale visual spectacle: each brings new worlds to life through storytelling and the careful curation of details that define a place, time, and personality. I believe in aesthetic as both a theory and application, and that every basic thing that surrounds us can be interesting, chosen and beautiful.”
In 2016, Sage was called to translate these gifts into deeper, less ephemeral work. In collaboration with her mother, Jannika, Hotel Svala is the culmination of this dream. Like a theater show or performance installation, Sage’s goal is to gather collaborators and curate an immersive, community-centered experience. She loves sautéed fiddlehead ferns, 70’s metal, peonies, demolition derbys, and Finnish mid-century cast iron.