The Interview: Iona Crawford

We caught up with Iona Crawford to find out more about the inspiration behind her kaleidoscopic creations


The Interview

Scottish artist and designer, Iona Crawford, established her namesake brand in 2007 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Taking inspiration from the natural world and her very own original pieces of artwork, Iona pushes the boundaries with her eclectic designs. A global success, Iona has showed her fashion and interior collections all over the world but remains grounded with her Scottish roots heavily influencing many of her kaleidoscopic creations.

Can you tell us a little bit about the design process at Iona Crawford?

All designs within our many collections are derived from my own original artwork. Generally, watercolour and oil on canvas, although in the studio, depending upon my intentions or inclination, I work with a variety of mediums. From here, I select particular pieces, or small sections of them, which are then translated into prints for a plethora of interior realms. Our collections span Wallpapers, Fabrics, Lighting, Soft Furnishings, Sheers, Rugs and Ceramics.

What’s the best part about creating a new collection?

I adore the initial starting point; alone in the studio with a blank canvas and a mix of anticipation and excitement in what might unfold, or end in an inky disaster! Similarly, I adore the process of working with our artisanal mills and manufacturing partners who interpret my designs meticulously in order to create beautiful products.

British Designer Iona Crawford

Where does the inspiration for your designs come from?

My sources of inspiration are vast. From organic patterns, textures and tones in landscape to bird life, naturally occurring mineral formations and coexisting species. Nature is the resounding source, probably conjured up by a childhood spent roaming and exploring the countryside which surrounds my family farm in beautiful Stirlingshire.

What do you think makes Iona Crawford different from other British interior brands?

We are a passionately Glaswegian practice with and international mindset. A young, bold and abundantly creative team who hold a futuristic, immersive perspective on design, coupled with a fierce appreciation for heritage, industry and artisan manufacturing. Part punk, part visionary, part time traveller.

How important is it for you to be aware of current trends?

Awareness is paramount, adherence less critical from our perspective. We prefer to be guided by our own intuition and experiences. We cherish relationships with both our clients and partners, responding to their tastes, design sensibilities and tales of their many quests for that perfect solution - be that a throw cushion for a statement armchair, or wallpapers for an entire hotel.

Is there a piece in your new collection that you are particularly fond of, and if so why?

We recently launched our new Coexist Collection, inspired by natural species and elements which coexist together in harmony. To challenge ourselves and introduce a new dimension to our textile and wallpaper portfolios, we translated elements of my artwork for jacquard weave, and used those weave configurations to create a series of soft, subtle, tactile prints for fabric and wallpaper. I adore the juxtaposition between, and marrying of, diverse techniques.

Iona Crawford British Design

Did you always know you wanted to work in interiors?

My training and roots exist in fashion design. When first established, we were a fashion and accessories brand exclusively. Exploration and a few initial interiors projects spurred me on to trial new substrates and methods of manufacture. Gradually, projects became larger and more challenging (we love a challenge!) and quite organically we began to carve our own interior niche and signature.

What do you think of the British design scene at the moment?

It is a very interesting time for design and the arts. The way in which we consume, procure and utilise design is evolving and with that our priorities and values. The ever-flourishing social inclination towards sourceability, traceability and provenance is a fabulous evolution - a mindset which I hope exists forever.

What’s next for the Iona Crawford brand?

Over the past 18 months our exports have grown significantly. This year we will explore new markets as well as nurturing relationships with our many diverse and wonderful clients we work with at present. We are in the midst of developing our second ceramics collection, as well as working on some exciting projects overseas. It's set to be a very fast paced and exhilarating year at IC Atelier!

Finally, describe the brand in five words

Progressive, Curious, Satirical, Ambitious, Punk

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