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; 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 heightens 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).