April 2018

By Pilar Viladas

Photography by Tobias Alexander Harvey

Faye Toogood Gives This Mediterranean Vacation Home a Total Makeover

Designer Faye Toogood brings her all-encompassing aesthetic vision to an Ibizan getaway

The British designer Faye Toogood has no interest in leaving well enough alone. A one-time editor at The World of Interiors, she left magazines in 2007 and set up her own studio the next year, designing installations (for Comme des Garçons and Tom Dixon, among others), then furniture and interiors. In 2013 she added fashion to her portfolio, when she and her sister Erica founded Toogood, which produces clothing inspired by traditional tradesmen’s garments. (Like Toogood’s furniture, the clothes are made in the U.K.) More recently, the 2018 AD100 inductee has designed ceramics for the British company 1882 Ltd. and wall coverings for the New York–based Calico Wallpaper, and she’s been making art, in the form of sculpture, paintings, and woven wall hangings. A common thread runs through these ever-evolving endeavors: a search for the natural, the tactile, and the human.

Toogood has pursued this quest with even greater intensity in her renovation of a house on the south coast of Ibiza. Not only did she and her studio create the house’s serene, monochromatic interiors, but she also made some significant tweaks to the building itself. She replaced its original aluminum windows with more substantial steel-framed versions, designed a pivoting Cor-Ten steel front door, added rugged fumed-oak ceiling beams to the rooms, and turned the house’s interior staircase into a sculptural object of concrete and plaster. Just as important, she persuaded both her client (for whom she had previously done the interiors of a London townhouse) and the local planning board to let her paint the exterior of the 5,500-square-foot house a warm sand tone—a marked departure from the customary bright white of Ibizan homes. But, as Toogood explains, “we wanted the house to feel very soft and natural—a part of the landscape,” both inside and out.

The first thing you see when you walk through the front door is a central console, designed by Toogood of kiln-dried oak and plaster, that holds an arrangement of handmade soil vessels she commissioned from artist Raya Stefanova. “There’s a very direct correlation with my own pieces,” Toogood points out, “and the primal nature of both, which turns something elemental into something beautiful.” At the far end, a trio of Toogood’s Brancusi-influenced sculptures stands in the curve of the staircase, the tallest sculpture rising almost to the skylight above.

In the open area that contains the living and dining spaces, Toogood’s own furniture, lighting, and artworks blend seamlessly with a contemporary sofa by Piero Lissoni and with tribal chairs, Isamu Noguchi’s iconic Akari paper lights, and vintage 20th-century pieces by designers like Pierre Paulin and Bruno Mathsson. The delicacy of Gio Ponti’s Superleggera chairs, a 1957 design, contrasts nicely with the heft of Toogood’s oak dining table, covered with glossy car paint in three different shades of cream. Against a backdrop of smooth Portland stone floors and creamy plaster walls, curtains made of hessian, a coarse hemp fabric, add an earthy texture.

This feeling of grounded luxury extends throughout the master bedroom and children’s rooms, as well as to the three guest rooms, where Toogood came up with different color-themed bed linens for each one—and a coded chart to help the housekeeping staff keep them straight. While the master bathroom maintains the pale tones of the rest of the house (Toogood designed its Corian tub, which cantilevers off a wall of rough travertine and is elevated to offer a view of the bay), the guest bathrooms are in aquatic shades of blue and green, giving them a slightly surreal, underwater quality. “We knew we wanted to use concrete, but we didn’t want it to be gray, which would look too urban,” Toogood notes. “So we chose pigmented concrete in as natural and organic a palette as we could find.”

Many of the rooms open onto terraces—with plantings by the London- and Ibiza-based landscape designer Stephen Woodhams, and Toogood’s furnishings—that offer sweeping views of the island and water. “This house represents a new scale of work for us,” she says. “It’s increasingly important that the synergy between the architecture and the interiors makes sense. We get a better project out of it.”

In addition to ongoing residential work, Toogood’s firm did an installation during the London Design Festival last September; recently completed a store for Carhartt in King’s Cross, which drew inspiration from the label’s workwear fabrics; and is working on a shop concept for Mulberry that is “very much based on being English.” Toogood describes her creative journey as the combination of a systematic process, “a constant desire to keep challenging myself,” and pure serendipity. Next, she says, she’d like to design a hotel, to incorporate “all the elements I like working on,” from spatial and experiential design to clothing and objects. “Someone once described me as relentless!” Toogood recalls. But what designer with a true vision isn’t?

See the full article in-situ here.