A-Z of Design: I is for Ilse Crawford

In our A – Z of Design, I is for Ilse Crawford. She was founding editor of British Elle Decoration, Head of Department for Man and Wellbeing at the Design Academy Eindhoven and has her own design studio and consultancy. We’re a huge fan of her work, her approach to design and to life and were lucky enough to get the opportunity to interview her a little while ago.

On Elle Decoration magazine: “I had a really great crowd of people around me, and we made it happen,’she says. ‘We started it off as a supplement, and then it became six-monthly, then bi-monthly, and then it became a monthly magazine. I never doubted the idea, but what you can never know is the time and volume of something. But I do think that if something is credible and has integrity, and is something that is really true to a core group of people then it speaks to others.”

On the Eindhoven Design Academy: “I’m a communicator and I think education is a super important thing in determining the future,’ she says. ‘It’s the only way we can give a chance to the future. I do really like being able to focus on just content and ideas for the time that I’m there. Teaching is an exchange, isn’t it? It’s not really teaching, it’s about coaching. It’s about understanding who they are as people and how that can be translated through an idea to a thing, so in that process, I learn too. And it’s very good to be accountable to 18-25 year olds, you know they can sniff out inconsistencies and things that you haven’t quite thought through enough. And if you remotely sound insincere they smell it out instantly. You have to be there for them, which is a very good discipline.”

And on Studio Ilse: “I’m proud of currently having a very happy studio,’ she says. ‘We work as a team. I like to make sure they are confident, happy, well-trained individuals, and I want to give them a place where they’re free to be that, because I think that’s where you get the best work. My name’s on the door, but it is about all of us being able to connect with other people with integrity, so I want to make sure that everybody who works with me can function in that way. I trust people rather than control them.”

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Katie Treggiden, Guest Editor

View all posts by Katie Treggiden, Guest Editor