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5 Minutes With… Matthew Sheargold

Principal at HASSELL and Director of design studio Sheargold, Matthew Sheargold divides his time between interior, product and furniture design. Sheargold took 5 minutes to tell Indesignlive about his design favourites and inspirations – from Alexander McQueen to the Eames and beyond.

5 Minutes With… Matthew Sheargold


April 13th, 2012

Describe your design philosophy.

Know your stuff then go with your gut. Your instincts will be right if you know what you are talking about in the first place.

Name your top 3 influences.

Lee (Alexander) McQueen – can’t help but be inspired by someone who makes you want to think outside the box.

Charles & Ray Eames – it’s a little obvious but they were clever, diverse and had fun. I’m always inspired by people who love what they do and are limited only by their imagination.

Paulette Christophersen – Partner at PLH Arkitekter in Copenhagen. She was my first boss and still inspires me…when I grow up I want to be like her!

The moment you knew you wanted to be a designer.

When I was young, like 12 or 13, I would go with my mum and dad looking at display houses when they were buying a new house. I didn’t realise at the time but apparently taking the house brochures and redesigning the floor plans to make them more functional wasn’t normal behaviour for a 13 year old boy!

Favourite local landmark/building.

Growing up in Canberra I still love the beautiful, brutalist architecture of the National Gallery.

Favourite international landmark/building.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial by Maya Lin in Washington DC. It’s a black granite wedge in the ground and every detail is so thoroughly considered, from the highly polished granite so veterans can see their reflections with their names, to the fact that the names are engraved chronologically, not alphabetically, so veterans and families have to search for their names, giving every visitor a different experience.

Maya Lin understood the importance of engagement and had a sensitivity that enabled her to challenge the perception of what a memorial should or could be.

Dream project to work on (real or imaginary).

An installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, London.

Dream person to collaborate with.

It was Lee McQueen. To collaborate on one of his shows – how amazing.

Favourite decade of design.

It has to be the 1950s, particularly in America. I have the Case Study House book on my coffee table as a constant reminder of the optimism of that era.

Favourite chair.

The Superleggera chair by Gio Ponti. Have you ever picked one up? It’s light as a feather and tough as nails! Designed in 1957, a brilliant piece of engineering.

Your #1 concern for the design industry in the coming decade.

That faster and cheaper will continue to be the key project drivers over quality and longevity.

Name one item in the workplace you can’t live without.

The perfect black felt tip pen.

The most unusual/interesting thing about the way you work.

I work better with a glass of wine!


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