Ilse Crawford At IKEA: Get It While You Can

To state the obvious, as interior designers, everyone on our team has an eye for design and the desire to acquire the pieces we love. It also explains why we’re so excited about British designer Ilse Crawford's new line for IKEA that’s in stores next month. Though she’s just gaining recognition Stateside, Crawford has rock-star status in Europe for her interiors, branding campaigns and furnishings that put human needs first but are also incredibly timeless, innovative and—above all—charismatic.

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The public living area in Ett Hem, a 12-bedroom guesthouse designed by Ilse Crawford in Stockholm. Photo: Studio Ilse

Her furniture is especially compelling to us given our focus on luxury interior design that stands the tests of daily life and time. Take her tailored Brass Cabinet, made of rare brown oak with interior fittings that are as precise as a Swiss watch, and then clad in lustrous polished brass that makes it a style-impartial yet incandescent presence in a room of virtually any style. It’s exquisitely crafted by the famed bespoke British cabinetmaker Jack Trench.

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Ilse Crawford’s Brass Cabinet can be customized for multiple functions (see options at Photo: Studio Ilse

The Ilse Sofa is equally neutral yet lust-worthy thanks to its blend of ergonomics, elegance and impeccable craftsmanship by the venerated British furniture maker George Smith. The height and depth of its seat, arms and back are calculated and tested to ensure that the sofa supports every sedentary habit imaginable (from computing to snoozing). Crawford calls it a room within a room.

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The Ilse Sofa is designed to support multiple activities, from sitting to snoozing. Photo: Studio Ilse

Now, thanks to IKEA, all of us can have a chance to experience her design prowess with a piece or two of her work (or more, given these incredibly reasonable price points) without leaving Chicago—or waiting the months it takes to get one of her bespoke pieces delivered from England. The line of low-key, chameleon-like furniture she designed, called Sinnerlig, was designed to blend as well in Mumbai as Mississippi.

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Ilse Crawford’s collection for IKEA ranges from large-scale pieces to small-scale stools, pendants and accessories. Photo: IKEA

The collection features about 30 products, ranging from tables and settees to ceramic pieces and hand-blown glass bottles, and is executed in natural materials such as cork, raffia, ceramics and glass by request from Ikea. This was made possible thanks to the vast resources and economies of scale available through IKEA, which allowed Crawford to focus closely on the details of the product’s design without compromising quality.

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Pieces are executed in natural materials, including cork, raffia, bamboo, ceramics and hand-blown glass. Photo: IKEA

While IKEA isn’t a usual source for our luxury projects, the aesthetics and production values of this line make it work for any budget level—especially in light of IKEA’s storied design history and partnerships with other iconic designers, such as Hella Jongerius and Vernor Panton. While the vases Jongerius did for IKEA a decade ago sold out in a flash, Panton’s Vilbert chairs were ill-received in 1994 but now cost thousands at auction. But both cases bode well for Crawford, whose line is sure to not only be a hit but also sell out in a flash. Our advice is to get there and get it while you can.

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Sustainability is top-of-mind to Crawford; she points out, “You don’t throw away what you love. It’s one way to bring sustainability to design.” Photos: IKEA

03 Aug 2015

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