A Room Of My Own: Craig Ford, fashion brand manager
Saturday 13 March 2010
The building is a 1950s piece of Modernist social housing. When I bought it three years ago it was a bit of a mess. The woman who lived here before had tried to turn it into a Victorian home, putting up ceiling roses and things. I stripped all that out and got back to the clean lines. I really like that period of architecture. I did the renovations while I lived here, and it was probably the most stressful period of my life, living in one room while we did the others up. There was no hot water for three months, but I think it was worth it.
When it comes to design, I've sort of ground my wife down to my way of looking at things. I've definitely had an influence; she wasn't really into Modernism till she met me.
We eat at the table every day; we both have breakfast there together and dinner in the evening. It's a 1950s Ercol Modernist table and chairs set, which I got on eBay.
I collect books. There are some that I use for reference for work: histories of clothing and menswear, and a lot of art books. I also collect books on radical Sixties revolutionary politics, and I like first editions – I prefer them to big flashy recent publications. Books can be artistic objects in their own right. And I read a lot, every day before bed.
The mobile was made by a French artist, but I don't know his name. He makes these mobiles in the style of Alexander Calder – he's been making them for 50 years. I got it from an antiques shop in Paris.
Unconsciously, I've always chosen bright colours. But I get sick of them. I bring things home and think "Oh no, not again". I'm like a magpie. The windowsills are bright yellow and orange. I was inspired by Le Corbusier: his chapel in the South of France has holes which are painted inside with these very bright colours, so I had the same idea for the windowsills. We used kt Color paints, which are based on the pure pigments Corbusier used.
We had a leather sofa and it looked good but was uncomfortable. I'm too old for that – I spend more time on the sofa now! We looked at expensive sofa places, but then I found out Sofa Workshop, the high-street chain, do customised sofas. So we could choose the size and dimensions and colour, and it wasn't that expensive.
I started collecting records – starting with Adam and the Ants – when I was about nine or 10. I've got a classic Technic record player and a really special amp, a 1969 McIntosh. They've been around since the Fifties; they were called McIntosh before the computer company but thought "this isn't going to last", so they didn't bother contesting the name. It has amazing sound quality.
The colourful figures are by Alexander Girard. He collects and made a book about South American folk art, and influenced by that he made the two dolls. South American art is something I'm influenced by too; I've been to Mexico a few times. But the "We Are The People" badge is a replica of Robert De Niro's in Taxi Driver!
I've got a few bits and pieces from Bathing Ape but I'm not a completist collector. I've got a similar aesthetic to the brand and its designers. Our reference points are Modernism in general and Pop Art in particular.
A life in brief
Craig Ford is the European brand manager for the cult Japanese clothing companies A Bathing Ape and Billionaires Boys Club/Ice Cream. Ford, who is 38, lives with his wife Rachel Thomas, an art director, in Clerkenwell, London. He's been working for A Bathing Ape – or BAPE as it's also known – since 2002. BAPE launch their European webstore in April. For details or to shop online, visit eu.bape.com or bbcicecream.com
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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