Ilse Crawford’s Unerring Eye – The New York Times

Ilse Crawford’s Unerring Eye – The New York Times


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Profile in Style: Ilse Crawford

CreditHelen Cathcart/courtesy Apiece Apart


The London-based designer Ilse Crawford doesn’t believe genes are destiny. Yet she knows that her career — which includes introducing modern style to England in the 1980s as founding editor of British Elle Decoration and gaining global acclaim for her interiors at Manhattan’s Soho House — seems like a product of her parentage. Her Danish mother was an artist; her Canadian father was the economics editor of The Sunday Times of London. “I have both the analytical and the instinctual,” she says. “Working at a magazine taught me how to communicate my ideas, but like an artist, I’m willing to make some mistakes.”

Her aesthetic is a reflection of that duality; in residences and commercial projects, including Stockholm’s Ett Hem hotel and Duddell’s, the Hong Kong club, she blends Scandinavian-inflected minimalism with warm English comfort. The mixture of classic modern pieces, along with her own pared-down furniture and whimsical touches, conjures sophisticated environments that are simultaneously airy and intimate.

For 15 years, she and her husband, the Colombian designer Oscar Peña, lived in a book-filled loft in the rough-hewn Borough district; her studio was above. When Studioilse expanded to a sprawling space in Bermondsey in 2015, the couple secured a new flat. That didn’t last long — they’re now moving into a spot above her studio. “I have a hard time separating my life from my work,” Crawford says. “But I make sure my home and studio are both supremely comfortable. The human experience always comes first.”

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