Interview with Walnut Grey
11 Wednesday Jul 2012
Today I have an interview with Gerard from Walnut Grey for you. He is a talented writer and interior designer. I have asked him a few questions about his thoughts on Scandinavian design and where he finds inspiration for his work.
1. Tell us a bit about you, what do you do?
My name is Gerard McGuickin. I’m a Design Writer & Interior Stylist. My pseudonym is Mr Walnut Grey. He and I are inextricably connected. I’d describe myself as punctilious: meticulous, conscientious, a perfectionist. I believe in being both styled and personable. I am insightful and sincere in my way of thinking about design.
My blog, Walnut Grey Design, is the discerning design blog. From a design perspective, I am opinionated, with strong beliefs on what I like and don’t like. I strive to be both honest and authentic. I champion the aesthetic. In fact “aesthetic” may just be my favourite word.
I have both a bachelor’s and a master’s in Psychology and understand a lot about human emotions and behaviours – I feel this is integral to my work as a design writer and interior stylist. I believe good design should be people-centric.
I’ve included a picture of Hans J. Wegner’s Shell Chair. As a design, it represents all that I am.
2. Do you have any favourite Scandinavian designers and brands? If so, why do they appeal to you?
I am greatly influenced by Scandinavian design. My favourite Scandinavian designers and brands are numerous. Designers I admire and love most include: Poul Kjærholm, Hans J. Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, Alvar Aalto, Cecilie Manz, Kasper Rønn and Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen (NORM), Morten Bo Jensen (Vipp). Brands include: Republic of Fritz Hansen, Carl Hansen, Iittala, Vipp, NORM, Muuto, Architectmade, Gubi, &tradition, Louis Poulsen, Note.
Each of these brands and designers appeal to me because they champion past/present/future, good design. They are quintessential design visionary’s and pioneers. They’re not interested in the latest fads and trends, but rather in design that is aesthetic, unobtrusive, honest and long-lasting.
3. What is typical Scandinavian style to you?
If I take Poul Kjærholm for example, each piece of his furniture is crafted with the intention of being functional, unobtrusive and long-lasting. More than this, its modern minimal aesthetic is timeless, enduring and classic. The very notion of throwaway simply does not feature.
For me, good Scandinavian design is imbued with integrity, gravitas and finesse. It gives the impression of being effortless, with simplicity. Yet on close inspection, the attention to detail, precision and excellent craftsmanship is meticulous and definite.
Scandinavian style is clean, lacking any ostentation and makes use of natural materials.
4. How do you find inspiration for your blog/decorating?
That’s a really interesting question. Often I will sit down to write a blog and not actually know what I’m going to write about. I get a thought in my head or remember something from a website or magazine and start writing. My blogs do have visuals, but are more about my writing. Writing, for me, is cathartic and stimulating at the same time. I’m an expressive writer. My writing doesn’t necessarily make it easy for the reader – yes I want people to be entertained, but I also want them to think, contemplate, consider.
I’m an urbanite and I love urban inspired spaces and colours. I get a lot of inspiration from the city. There is so much to see in buildings, people and city life. I allow myself time to explore and enjoy what the city has to offer. I’m always considering what it means or pondering on how it got there. Design for me is about finding connections and making connections. It might be the colour of a building’s facade that I know would work well in an interior space or a crane and scaffolding that has me thinking about industrial, masculine interiors. Whatever it is, I always stay true to my ethos and belief in good design.
Thank you Gerard for your interesting answers to my questions – very thoughtful and beautifully written.