Interview With Designer Joseph Walsh
Joseph Walsh is a self-made designer producing one of a kind and limited edition pieces of furniture that transcend out of the world of interior decoration and into the realm of artistic expression. With humble roots growing up in the countryside of Ireland, Walsh’s appreciation for and inspiration from nature is reflected in his works.
In 1999, Walsh opened his personal studio in County Cork, Ireland and from that point forward, he has constructed a team of people to help realize numerous projects.
Walsh’s personal philosophy is that, “we can enhance the quality of our lives by surrounding ourselves with objects that possess values beyond their function or aesthetic, that possess intelligence in their creation, that one can interact with and that will stimulate senses each and every time one engages with them.”
To learn more about this amazing designer and how he got his start, we conducted a personal interview with Walsh.
Gloobbi: How and when did you realize that you had the inherent talent to design furniture?
JW: I realized when I was very young that I had an interest in furniture as an object I wanted to create. From my teenage years I was making furniture; mainly interpretations of traditional Irish farmhouse designs. The interest grew the more involved I became.
G: Wood seems to be the primary material that you are interested in working with, but what other materials are you drawn to? Why?
JW: I’m drawn to materials that have resistance; materials that you can have a dialogue with as you create an object. Other than wood, stone would be another example but there are many others. It depends on how we, as designers, approach the material and understand how we can work it to maximize its potential.
G: What was your background before opening your studio?
JW: I started so young that this is all I have really ever done. My family was farming so I grew up surrounded by growing and making; I think this had a healthy influence.
G: How long were you working alone before you decided to form a team?
JW: A few years; I realized very quickly that the scale of work I wanted to make and the time required to make it would be too great for one person. Forming a team was another very interesting part of developing the studio. I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by highly talented, skilled and very interesting people in my team since the start who have contributed immensely to the quality of the work and environment here.
G: How did you discover the people on your team?
JW: I think we discovered each other! My work is a particular area and I really value the quality of making; there are makers out there that are seeking the opportunity to realize their potential as makers and have their making skills valued and appreciated so we find each other. Today we have a diverse and highly skilled team from France, Germany, Argentina, Japan and Ireland.
G: What is your working approach or method for developing a new piece?
JW: I start with concept development and knowledge of what the piece should represent. Then I’m very hands on; quickly making models to maintain the creative intent and momentum before getting into the detail of resolving the piece.
G: Where do you get your inspiration? Do you have any designers that you pull inspiration from?
JW: I follow many creative fields and admire the work of people in various disciplines from architecture to landscape design, sculpture to video art. If I had to pick one person that I pull inspiration from today I would say Olafur Eliasson. A part from that, I get inspiration from my ideals. The things I love somehow get translated into the things I want to create.
G: Do you have aspirations to move into larger manufacturing or do you want to continue with limited edition and one of a kind pieces?
JW: I have no fixed expectations. I love the limitation we have with our own hands. I feel we live in a world where we have broken so many natural boundaries or limitations, sometimes this can be good but we lose some references in doing so. For now we will continue to work on one of a kind or edition pieces unless we develop an interesting batch idea.
G: Do you have any interest in designing other things, such as clothing or accessories?
JW: Yes, not specifically clothing but yes, eventually I’d like to design other things or collaborate on other projects, but again, there’s no rush. If the time is right, the circumstances are interesting enough and I believe in it, then yes.
Click on the link above left to see more of Walsh’s design.
by Alora Tishok
Gloobbi Representative based in Paris
Photo (above) by Andrew Bradley