Walnut Grey Design. About me. My offer. Contact.

Hi, I’m Gerard. A writer, thinker and idealist.

Writing is my vocation and design is my thing: ergo, I write about design. As a subject matter, design affects everything that we see, touch, hear, taste and smell. It influences who we are, how we feel and what we think. I have a utopian vision of design, and I’m convinced it has the capacity to inspire change in people for the better: individually, socially, psychologically and emotionally.

I believe design begins with our surroundings. I have the pleasure of living and working in a charming old bakery building: the historic Ormeau Bakery was in operation from 1890 to 2004 and is located in a modish neighbourhood in south Belfast. From here, I sit at my beloved Vitsœ 606 Universal Shelving System to write, lose myself in creative thought or simply watch the world pass by.

My writing is studied and uninhibited, and my perspective on design is typically punctilious and urbane. My thinking is often guided by Dieter Rams’ ten principles for good design. Moreover, I have an educational background in psychology (MSc + BSc), and believe that design can improve a person’s quality of life, not least in relation to well-being.

I have not pursued a conventional career path, remaining open-minded about my ambitions. Schooled in Belfast during the 1980s and 1990s, 'design' as a subject was generally odd and overlooked. It was during my years as a Londoner that I observed the power and potential of good design: its influence on me personally and on people universally. After a period of working in various professional roles—some fulfilling, others enervating—I started a design blog called 'Walnut Grey Design'. A successful venture, the blog would run its course after several years as I focused on writing professionally. Today, Walnut Grey Design epitomises the manner in which I write about design. My approach is one that values integrity, punctiliousness, reflection, diversity, humour and finesse.

Without affectation, I value that which is aesthetically pleasing and inspiring (great design excites my imagination). Therefore, I endeavour to bolster my creativity by surrounding myself with a curated edit of smart design objects, furnishings and books. In addition, I find plenty of creative stimulus in a myriad of pop icons, places and things: in Dolly Parton, George Michael and the Moomins; in Belfast, Berlin, London and Madrid; in savouring coffee and drinking wine. It is this mix of the intellectual and insouciant that I enjoy and find motivational as a writer, thinker and idealist.

Gerard McGuickin (Mr Walnut Grey).