The art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all. In Japan, the concept is now so deeply ingrained that it’s difficult to explain to Westerners, in fact no direct translation exists.
Studio Iro is an interior design practice led by founder and creative director, Lucy Currell. Studio Iro was set up in Hackney London in 2016, where Currell grew up and still lives now. Before Studio Iro, Lucy graduated from the New York School of Interior Design and gained two years experience as lead designer at the interior design and development company ASH NYC. Completing projects in trendy areas such as Greenwich Village and Williamsburg. Currell spent two years furnishing and styling Manhattan and Brooklyn residences, including projects in The American Copper Building, Manhattan and Austin Nichols House in Williamsburg to name a few. In 2016 she returned to London to set up shop independently. With a flair for modernist furniture, antiques and art this was the natural path.
Currell’s design experience in New York City has definitely shaped her style, being exposed and inspired to forward thinking international design and interiors in the city. The exposure to both London and New York’s design scenes has allowed her work to develop a creative depth and uniqueness which stands out as an innovative and eclectic. But what has had most influenced her design is her love of Japan. This love directly influences Studio Iro’s aesthetic and mindset, which is centred around the Japanese philosophy wabi-sabi, inspiring the studio’s name Iro, meaning colour in Japanese.
Iro’s aesthetic is inspired by wabi-sabi’s philosophy of finding the beauty in the imperfection and is essential to the way the studio designs and thinks. Iro create distinctive interiors with understated character, they are unassuming but not without presence. The author Leonard Koren describes Wabi-sabi as “the aesthetic appreciation of the evanescence of life” which Currell manifests through her love of antiques, modernist furniture and all things old, which have a physical story to tell. Currell loves sourcing antiques throughout Europe but has a particular love for Spitalfields antiques market and Beton Brut, a modernist furniture shop in Hackney Wick.
Wabi-sabi’s material qualities can be seen in Iro’s projects, with the use of subtle colours which don’t shout, but radiate subtle hues found in nature. The natural tones allow the space to feel light, open and at one with nature. Iro uses natural materials, such as wood, stone, ceramics, which hold rich, deep imperfect textures aligning strongly with nature. Lighting is very important to Iro enhancing the use of natural light in the day time and allowing for rooms to be softly lit at night, with muted light from table and floor lamps or low hanging ceiling pendants.