Walnut Grey Design. About me. The idealism of design? My offer. Contact.



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


Writing is my vocation and design is my thing. Ergo, I write about design.

I believe design begins with our surroundings. I have the pleasure of living and working in a charming, historic bakery building, located in a modish neighbourhood in south Belfast. Known as the Ormeau Bakery, it once baked delicious breads and cakes from 1890 to 2004. From my apartment, 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’s 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 their 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 in London—some fulfilling, others enervating—I set up a design blog called Walnut Grey Design. A successful venture, the blog would run its course after several years as I focused on writing in a professional capacity. 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 and enhances my creativity. It is for this reason that I surround myself with a curated edit of smart design objects, furnishings, books (and a cactus or two). My pop icons include Dolly, Tina and the Pet Shop Boys, and I’m a fan of the Moomins. I have a passion for travel (I’m hugely excited about an upcoming trip to Japan in Spring 2018) and I relish city life (particularly cities such as Berlin, Copehagen, London, Madrid, New York and Stockholm).

It is the rousing, sometimes arduous, mix of my past, present and future that I draw upon as a writer, thinker and idealist.

Gerard McGuickin (Mr Walnut Grey).