Booking it to England

Johnny Grey

You all know what a sucker I am for books, and you might have guessed that any subject addressing a lack of soul in design would get my attention as well. There’s an event in Birmingham, England, this weekend that looks to be an interesting exploration of emotional design entitled “Home Is Where the Heart Is: Interior Design with Emotion.” Johnny Grey will join designer, writer and TV presenter Kevin McCloud; Habitat creative director Theo Williams; and designer, author and TV presenter Naomi Cleaver at Grand Designs Live on Saturday, October 9th at 1:15 p.m. to discuss the timely subject. The panel will be moderated by producer Aidan Walker.

Johnny’s talk, which he’s calling “Ten Books: Sources of Influence,” will explore his favourite titles and demonstrate how they have influenced his work as well as what value they offer to clients, designers and architects. They include, A Perfect Mess by Eric Abrahamson and David Freeman; The World of Goods by Mary Douglas and Baron Isherwood; Happiness: Lessons from a New Science by Richard Layard; I’m Still Here by John Zeisel; Healing Spaces by Esther Sternberg; Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers by Leonard Koren; The Art Instinct by Denis Dutton; The Alexander Technique by John Gray; The Craftsman by Richard Sennett; and House as a Mirror of Selfby Clare Cooper Marcus.

“I want to spread ideas to designers and homemakers on ways of embedding soul and comfort, using new tools from brain research, psychology, art, food and the five senses via ten original and powerful books,” Grey says. “Over the years many books with powerful ideas do not find tipping points, and designers don’t have enough time to read and tend to stick design books. I’d like to see this change: I think we’d be all the better for it.”

Here’s a sneak peak as to what Grey had to say about Happiness during his presentation at Decorex last week.

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  • Rich Holschuh

    Ooo, a book list! And a particularly tasty one. Thanks for passing this along – I will attempt to follow up. So many wise words, so little time to devour. Fun to see the stimuli that fire another’s imaginations, especially when it’s one with whom there is an existing correlation.

  • Saxon Henry

    I thought it was a brilliant list, too, Rich. Johnny sure knows how to deepen a subject and it is fascinating to see how he takes something most people would consider mundane and take it to a soul level. I see the same in how you approach your work…it makes writing about design so exciting!