Kirsty Whyte from Pure Whyte answers Despoke’s Questions.

What made you want to become a designer in the first place?

I think I’ve always been one; as a child I was always in the garden with wood, nails and a hammer making planes, boats  or inside constructing monsters, houses etc. form loo rolls, tissue paper and PVA glue!

I like to sketch and model designs, there are sketchbooks all over the place, I can’t really help myself!

Where did you study design?

I studied Decorative Arts at Nottingham Trent University, then I was a guest student at Kalmar University, Sweden where I studied Glass Design-a brilliant experience.

I graduated in 2003, but I’ve only been designing full time since I left my job in December 08, so am playing catch up; with 6 years of pent up creative energy!

What was the first thing you designed?

I think I’d have to check that with my Mum! But I remember in Year 7 we all had to design and make key rings in CDT, mine was an artists pallet, with each dob of paint represented by a small circle of hand cut colours acrylic. Very fiddly but it’s still around somewhere.

How do you define good design?

A useful and aesthetically pleasing that withstands the tests of time.  A timeless classic that doesn’t become dated.

What would you be if not a designer?


Which design of yours are you most proud of and why?

I think it’s always the next product I’m working on! I’m never too precious about my designs and am impatient to get on to the next one. So at the moment some outdoor seating made from recycled car tyres, it’s in the development stage but should have an exciting result.

Anything in your career you wish you’d done differently?

Initially I wish I had launched into design straight away after graduating, but now I realise that I now have experience in other areas that will help me make Purewhyte a success.

Which designers do you most admire?

That’s a tough one, I admire so many designers for different reasons.

I recently did an internship at Tom Dixon’s and I admire how he had made his name and himself a successful design brand

Patricia Urquiola, for her varied style and range of products that use colour, pattern, texture and simplicity of line.

BarberOsgerby; working well in a team and their approach to projects; I too would like to look at designing for other brands (e.g Iris for Established & Sons)

Michael Marriot for his non fuss approach and use of materials and objects.

Of course one of the Godfathers of design (in my opinion) Arne Jacobsen as a prime example of designing products that withstand the tests of time & popular culture.

I could go on!

Which product do you wish you’d designed/do you think is an example of good design?

I really love the Ercol Stacking Chair, designed in 1957 and would still sit happily in any modern interior.

Tell me about your design style at home?

Well I’m self employed in London and live in a shared flat, I would describe it as modest.  I used to work for Habitat so there are a few sample sale bargains around, some vintage items that have been picked up over time, but I’m sorry to say the majority is IKEA, it serves it’s purpose of being cheap, nicely designed & not too precious. I’m saving all the exciting interior designing for my own house when I’m a grown up and it won’t get damaged!


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