We are all inspired by the enthusiasm, passion and meteoric rise of Confessions of a Design Geek blogger Katie Treggiden. Having launched her blog two years ago, within five weeks she was nominated for mydeco’s Design Democracy Awards, in which it won Best Interior Design Blog in Great Britain. In September 2011, Katie published Interviews a collection of eighteen conversations with designers (and we are talking about a stellar group), now stocked in the Design Museum and the V&A. How much better does it get? Now travelling the globe reporting on design (full-time) we caught-up with Katie on the heels of Milan Design Week.
IC: After launching your blog, you took the leap and became a full-time design writer. What is the best part of making this change?
Katie: Everything about it! I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was five years old and I am absolutely loving every moment! It’s hard work and it’s scary - I’ve only been doing it since January, so time will tell if I make a success of it. But I love writing, I love design, I love writing about design – I couldn’t be happier! I also love being in control of my day, and not having to be at a desk at 9am every morning just because that’s what convention dictates. (Although to be fair, I’m usually at my desk at 8am!)
IC: We see that you are active on Twitter, in fact, that is where we “met.” How has Twitter changed your day to day?
Katie: I’m a bit of a twitter addict, I must confess! Before I was on twitter, I was the only person I knew who was this obsessed with design. I was a bit of a geek (hence the name of the blog!). It’s connected me to thousands of people just like me, it educates me on a daily basis, I’ve met amazing people through twitter… In terms of physical change, it means I don’t have down time, because any second of spare time is spent on twitter instead of gazing of the window, or whatever normal people do while waiting for something to download! Probably not very good for me, but I was never really one for downtime anyway!
IC: You contribute editorials to a cadre of household who's who in design: Designmilk, Heart Home, We Heart... If you could choose any additional venues, where would you like to publish/contribute your work?
Katie: In terms of online publications, I’d love to write for design*sponge. That was the first design blog I was really aware of, and I’m still slightly (okay, completely!) in awe of Grace Bonney! I got to interview her for my blog last year, which was amazing!
And I’m really keen to get more offline writing experience… as well as to publish another book. I had such fun putting Interviews together, and it’s been amazing seeing copies sold all over the world and seeing it get into outlets like the Design Museum shop and the V&A Reading Rooms. I have the idea for the next book, so watch this space!
IC: What is YOUR design aesthetic? Can you pick out some pieces on our website that strike a cord with you and share why.
Katie: Personally, I love modernism, midcentury design, and Scandinavian and Japanese design. I also like a little bit of utilitarian almost brutalist design. That said, I have often found that when talking to designers and understanding the thinking behind their work, I gain a whole new appreciation for something that might not previously have been to my taste. On your site, my top picks would be Michael Dawkins Morse Pendant lamp, Nico Yektai’s Bench 7 Series 2, and the Cerca Trova Design V Lounge – just because they appeal to me. It’s hard to say why.
IC: Who are some of your favorite interior designers?
Katie: I am fantastically uneducated about interior designers, I’m afraid! I know more about product and furniture designers! One of my favorite furniture designers is Tom Raffield who makes amazing bent wood furniture from Devon. I also love &Then Design, who I spotted at this year’s 100% Design. And I think Nic Rysenbry’s work developing products for dementia sufferers was amazing – I just wish he could funding to get some of them made.
IC: Dream thinking: We only have one day to visit anywhere in England, what are some of the stops for design we should make (museum, shop, other).
Katie: Definitely the Design Museum and the V&A. The V&A Reading Rooms for a cup of tea. I would also grab a copy of Max Fraser’s London Design Guide and so some of the ‘design walks’ to discover some little places off the beaten track. Always an afternoon well spent. That’s all assuming you’re in London. If you’re not, I would head to Cornwall – the creative industries there are really booming. Falmouth has got lots of fab independent shops and a real buzz about it – and you’d have to stand on a windy cliff top and take in some sea air!
IC: We love reading your interviews. If you could interview anyone (anytime) who would that be?
Katie: Thank you. Wim Crouwel was a real coup – interviewing him was amazing. He’s the Godfather of Dutch design and I’m a huge fan! It was a real honour to be able to include him in my book.
I’d love to interview Terrance Conran – he’s done so much for British Design from Habitat to the Design Museum. That would be amazing.
I also love discovering new designers. Whenever I co me back from a furniture fair I am absolutely buzzing about all the graduate talent I see out there – can’t wait to interview some of them!
IC: What is your favorite design-related possession?
Katie: Can I have three?! I can’t function without my black moleskine diary, week to view of the left hand page, and notes on the right hand page, my iPhone and my little beaten up old MacBook. They contain my entire life and I’d be lost without them. Good design for me is about a perfect balance of form and function, something that is beautiful because it works – and these three things are the epitome of that.
IC: Are you reading anything now that you would care to share with our followers?
Katie: I’ve just finished reading a book called “Touch The Earth” compiled by TC McLuhan. My Dad bought it for me , in response to a request for books I ought to have read! It’s a portrait of Native American Indian existence in their own words and is really moving. Sorry - it’s not a design related book, but I think it’s really important to get your head out of what you do everyday in order to be creative. I highly recommend it!
IC: If you had a free afternoon, how would you spend it?
Katie: I’m a bit of a productivity addict, so I find free time quite difficult! If forced, probably a long walk in the countryside followed by a good meal in a pub with an open fire and lots of spaniels! This is going to sound really cheesy, but I find nature really inspiring. Just getting out to see the sea, or have a walk by a river is really good for your soul I think.