In the latest edition of our skinflint Meets series, we caught up with Design Journalist Katie Treggiden and chatted everything from studying Design History at Oxford to who from the world of design she would invite to dinner.
skinflint: What is the most exciting part of working in interiors / design journalism?
Katie: I have wanted to be a writer since I was five years old, but it was only when I discovered design that I found my muse. So I’m very lucky to do a job I love. What I enjoy most is the sense of discovery – whether it’s new design talent, creative people from groups which are typically under-represented in mainstream media, or women throughout the history of design who often didn’t get due credit; I get really excited about finding and telling stories about design’s underdogs.
You’re starting a part-time Masters in Design History at Oxford University in October – why?
I have spent the last seven years learning how to be a design journalist and it’s been very a steep learning curve! I have founded and run an award-winning blog, launched an independent magazine, worked in-house at the world’s most respected online design magazine, written three books and been published by incredible titles such as the Guardian and Elle Decoration, but eventually, that curve started to level off. I love learning, so I wanted a new challenge. I feel incredibly privileged to have been offered the opportunity to study Design History at Oxford University, and to be able to do so part-time, alongside my journalism. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in, and to seeing how those two parts of my life feed into each other.
Can you describe your own style to us?
I think I’m a Modernist at heart. I believe in principles like ‘truth to materials’ and ‘form follows function,’ but I’m looking forward to having that thinking challenged at Oxford! I spend my working life surrounded by colour and pattern so my home is quite calm and understated – it’s a refuge from the world.
Who from the world of design, interiors and architecture (dead or alive) would you invite to a supper party and why?
Ray Eames, Anni Albers, Florence Knoll, Lucie Rie, Zaha Hadid, Ella Hansen and Marianne Brandt – I am fascinated by the women of design history and would love to know more about their stories, which to date, haven’t been explored enough.
Heydar Aliyev Centre designed by Zaha Hadid. Image Copyright Bruno Jauneaud
If you could only save three things from your home (pets and family aside) during a fire, what would they be?
My Moleskine diary contains my whole life and I don’t know what I’d do without it.
Can “my books” count as one item?! I’m an avid reader and have thousands of books, and each one means something to me in its own right. If not, there is one book – a copy of Black Beauty that my Dad gave me when I was a child that is irreplaceable.
And if I’m really honest, a cuddly dog I’ve had for as long as I can remember.
…although having actually escaped from a house fire as a teenager, I can safely say I would bring nothing apart from pets and family. Nothing else really matters.
Do you have a favourite building? Why is it your favourite?
It’s a close call between the Barbican Centre and the Royal Festival Hall. Both were built at a time of real optimism; about the power of design and architecture to change the world for the better.
Do you have a favourite design era? And why?
If you haven’t guessed already, the mid-twentieth century, but I’m far from alone there!
Just one more question, could you choose three of your favourite skinflint lights from the current collection and tell us why you like them so much?
This is too hard!
I love the utilitarian feel of this one and can see a row of them in my kitchen:
I love this one for an outside light because it reminds me of boats – I grew up in Cornwall, so spent a lot of time on boats as a child!
This one is almost anthropomorphic – it’s super cute and would look great on my desk!
Thank you Katie and good luck with your studies - you can follow Katie on Instagram here.