Dezeen Magazine

Ilse Crawford named Maison&Objet Designer of the Year

London designer Ilse Crawford will create a hub space for Maison&Objet's Paris fair in September after being awarded the title of Designer of the Year.

In a first for a Maison&Objet Designer of the Year, Crawford will create and style the space known as the Designers' Studio, which functions as a central meeting point during the fair in Paris.

Designers of the Year – of which there are four, corresponding to Maison&Objet's four international trade fairs – usually create installations or exhibitions to be displayed in the event venues.

Aesop Frederiksberg interior in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photograph by Felix Odell
Aesop Frederiksberg interior by Studioilse in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photograph by Felix Odell

Crawford, the founder of Studioilse, is planning a serene, multipurpose venue that is both flat-packed and modular, so that the structure can be disassembled and reused again.

Visitors to Maison&Objet's Designers' Studio in September will find spaces designed to help them "relax, collapse, recharge, recap, reconnect, regroup and refresh".

"The space is divided up into zones where families of furniture and lighting have been carefully grouped to encourage and support these activities," Crawford told Dezeen.

Matsalen and Matbaren restaurant interiors for the Grand Hotel Stockholm by Ilse Crawford
Crawford created the Matbaren restaurant interior at Grand Hotel Stockholm in Sweden in 2007

Plants and natural materials will be selected with the aim of creating a restful environment.

Crawford's other main concern in designing a pop-up venue was that it not end up as waste a few days later. For this reason, the structure will be designed to be taken apart, stored flat and reconfigured again for future events.

"Maison&Objet only runs for five days, so it was important for us to think about a life after the fair for the construction materials," she said.

Sinnerlig collection by Ilse Crawford for IKEA
Crawford's Sinnerlig homeware collection for Ikea debuted last year

"The frame is designed as a series of standard modules, which can be reconfigured by changing the internal elements and repainted, opening the possibilities to create a different space and new atmosphere from the same materials."

Maison&Objet names four Designers of the Year each year – one each for its Asian and American fairs, and two for Paris, which is takes place biannually.

In keeping with the fairs' different focuses, the January honouree, who this year was Spaniard Eugeni Quitllet, is picked from the world of product design, while the September designer is more closely aligned to interiors.


Perching stool by Studioilse for Artifort
Perching stools is a collection of leather seats designed by Studioilse for Artifort, released this year

Designers of the Year usually create installations or exhibitions for the fairs at which they are being honoured, but Crawford is the first to be given the Designers' Studio space.

Last year Japanese studio Nendo created a chocolate-themed lounge area in Paris, while US designer Rafael de Cárdenas brought a neon jungle to Miami.

After beginning her career as a journalist and being the founding editor-in-chief of Elle Decoration UK, Crawford founded Studioilse in 2001.

Wastberg W084 Lamp
Studioilse's W084 lamp for Wästberg

Although best known for interiors, particularly its early work with the Soho House Group, the studio also designs products, including a recent collection of "deliberately low-key" pieces in natural materials for furniture giant Ikea.

"Design is an extraordinary process and my studio has used this process to orchestrate spaces and products that start with human experience, that are liveable, feel good, and make us feel alive," Crawford said. "It's a great honour to be recognised for this."