Dezeen Magazine

Tokyo Designers Week interviews: Ilse Crawford

Tokyo 09: designer Ilse Crawford describes her vision of design that brings people together in this third short interview commissioned for the Tokyo Designers Week guide, produced by Dezeen.

Ilse Crawford - I’m interested in making furniture and design that brings people together

“The design world has become a bit of a club recently. It needs to look beyond its boundaries and be aware of what’s going on around it economically, socially and politically. I created a design department in Holland about ten years ago based on the idea of man and well-being. I’m fascinated by the idea of coming up with a new design language that supports communities, embraces humanity and can grow and replenish the world around it. For me, that’s what green design is about.

Innovation is very important, but I think we need to take a step back to move forward sometimes. Creating novelty for novelty’s sake is just feeding the machine. Often the quickest wins are to use the knowledge we’ve got already. The fastest way to reduce CO2 emissions right now would be to encourage everybody to share the products they have. That’s design intelligence. You don’t need masses of new ideas, you just need to apply the ones you have with conviction and commitment.

My new furniture collection – Seating for Eating – is based around communities and sharing. It’s a family of solid chestnut benches, settles and stools. Having designed some restaurants and cafes, I realised there are plenty of chairs but very few products that draw people together. When you look at design, so much of it is based around being separate. I’m interested in making furniture and design that brings people together.”

Ilse Crawford is a furniture and interior designer and founder of StudioIlse.

Photography by Phil Fisk
Art direction by Micha Weidmann
Interview by Malaika Byng

This interview is taken from the official Tokyo Designers Week guide, produced by Dezeen and art directed by Micha Weidmann.

More interview in this series:

Matthew Hilton
Shigeru Ban

See all our stories about Tokyo Designers Week in our special category.

More about Ilse Crawford on Dezeen:

Molteni&C sofa chat
Seating for Eating
Aesop Store
Welcome Collection Club Room
Matsalen and Matbaren