Inside StudioIlse with Ilse Crawford
Ilse Crawford has designed some of the most iconic hotels, private homes and public spaces of our time. An art director, academic, journalist to editor-in-chief, designer and design pioneer... her ethos of placing the human experience–our needs and desires–at the centre of everything she touches.
"There is no such thing as design any more. There are so many channels to pursue. To achieve something really interesting, you’ve got to be able to work with people from other disciplines. That’s when the real breakthroughs occur. Other fields are where design has a purpose. It needs to be engaged with something beyond itself." Ilse Crawford, for Fame
After receiving a degree in history at the Bedford College of London University, Ilse's design career began working at an architecture firm and writing for Architects Journal before becoming the founding editor-in-chief of ELLE Decoration UK. Nurturing the future of design, Ilse founded the department of Man and Wellbeing at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. She went onto found her multi-disciplinary design studio, StudioIlse in 2001. She and her team of 20 focus on interior architecture and product design; their goal is to enhance the human experience, to design with comfort in mind and to create environments that make aesthetic sense for their intended uses. In her most recent accomplishment, Ilse was named Designer of the Year for this year’s Maison&Objet 2016.
"As the head of Studioilse, I mostly design interiors. But, in fact, we do a lot more than that here," Crawford said. "Because, I think, interiors are ultimately where we live, they are a lot more than pieces of furniture. They're really about interior life, how we live as human beings." Ilse Crawford, for Dezeen Book of Interviews
Her projects have included a collaboration with Ikea and Georg Jensen, designing the Soho House in New York, Babington House, Electric Cinema, privates home in London (she guards her clients' privacy fiercely), a re-design of a 1930's yacht, the Anya Hindmarch flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York and Duddell’s restaurant in Hong Kong. And to top it off, Ilse has published three books including: Sensual Home: Liberate Your Senses and Change Your Life, Home is Where the Heart is?, and A Frame for Life.
"The studio essentially focuses on space from the point of view of the human being inside it. We're physical beings and ultimately buildings are a frame for life. [...] It's not an intellectual activity. You experience interiors through your body." Ilse Crawford,for Dezeen Book of Interviews
While Ilse is known less for a signature style than for a certain feeling radiating from the spaces she and her multidisciplinary design studio, StudioIlse dreams up. Spaces that offer refuge from the crowded noise of many modern design schemes, places that offer relaxation, tranquility and comfort without forgoing her aesthetic for balance and beauty. Ilse's designs feel at once modern and timeless, seeming to exist outside of time. Rich interplays of textures; calming, neutral palettes paired with playful pops of colours; with every design choice tracing back to the human experience with interiors that are meant to be interacted with, enjoyed and most importantly lived in. From private homes to her inspiring public spaces, Ilse seeks to create spaces where people feel at home, improving upon the reality of how we live. With every product, furniture and spacial creation, she is further restoring a humanist vision that is so often lost in today's design world.
For Maison&Objet 2016, Ilse Crawford and StudioIlse expressed their vision for a tactile human connection with Designer’s Studio, a space of escape, to retreat from the constant drive of M&O, to connect, relax, collapse, recharge and refresh within a “hospitable space amongst the visual noise of the fair."
Every detail of the space was created with the visitor in mind. Partially transparent barriers to allow both privacy and connectivity. Minimal, natural structures made from reusable materials and which offer a sense of ease against the concentration of “Design” within the fair. Plants to create a sense of well being… Every element in place to create the best possible experience according to Ilse’s humanist design vision.
"What are the basic building blocks of behaviour that make us alike? What drives us as human beings? … We need a space that speaks to us both rationally and emotionally. For although we expect our homes to function in many ways today, we also want them to feel more human, more like us." Ilse Crawford, from Home Is Where the Heart Is?
Ilse Crawford, M&O Designer of the Year
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