New York-based design entrepreneur and special projects contributing editor for ELLE DÉCOR Whitney Robinson passionately believes that design is all around us. And for good reason: having spent more than a decade at Hearst Magazines traveling the world producing style and interiors stories for Town & Country, House Beautiful and Metropolitan Home before becoming editor-in-chief of ELLE DÉCOR in 2017 – a position he held until recently before stepping down to launch DW NorthStar, a design consulting business – Whitney is a champion of design excellence across disciplines and geographies. Passionate about interiors, fashion, jewellery, food, and travel, he has also written for publications such as T: The New York Times Style Magazine, WSJ Magazine and Departures attest, co-founded Qulture.com, a digital destination for arts and culture in the Middle East, and launched the Council of Interior Designers of America. Incredibly, he has also found the time to make a name for himself on television, starring in Bravo’s hit design series Best Room Wins and appearing regularly on shows like NBC’s Open House. We recently caught up with Whitney to ask him about what inspires him, what’s on his reading list, and which destinations he dreams about.
How would you define yourself in three words?
Passionate, Curious, Funny.
A project/initiative you’re most proud of?
My new hospitality venture. I can't say much now, but it's everything I love about design tucked under one roof.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Other creative people from all disciplines—art, design, music, fashion.
Which art/design/style icons you are most inspired by?
I always want to play James Bond or Thomas Crown
Which colours are you currently enamoured of?
I'm dreaming of the deep blue azure sea, the bright green foliage, and the rich ochre landscape on Tinos.
A timeless design piece you own?
A 1930s burlwood Gio Ponti cantilevered desk which is my home office desk; a German miniature silver tree festooned with gemstones made by DeVera
What’s an accessory you had for ages?
Hermes notebook, but I rarely write in it; a Rolex Daytona.
What item in your closet do you wear the most?
Tom Ford white button-down shirts. In the summer: Loro Piana Summer Walk shoes in every color; Anderson and Sheppard linen trousers.
The beauty product you can’t live without?
Huile Bénéfique by Biologique Recherche, it's like an all-over oil that you can use for body, face and hair. Like many men, I like an easy beauty regime.
Three Instagram accounts you check daily?
Stellene Volandes, Aerin Lauder, Diane Von Furstenburg.
Favourite destination and hotel?
So many. I've been thinking a lot about India lately, though I rarely stay in hotels there. I've also been thinking a lot about El Fenn in Marrakech, and visiting Vanessa Branson's Eileen Shona House on a loch in Scotland that inspired Peter Pan.
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done in your life?
Moved to Qatar. (But I only think it’s adventurous in hindsight. It felt totally natural at the time.)
What do you miss most when travelling?
Making dinner for my partner and Truffle Dog.
Which city would you chose to live in if you had to move?
What souvenirs would you bring back home?
I'm a big shopper—I've brought back everything from rings in Jaipur to chandeliers in Venice.
Your latest discovery?
Robert Kime's amazing e-shop online and on Instagram. It's lethal for me.
Ronald Lauder's Neue Galerie for German Art in New York.
What is on your bookshelf?
The Louvre, a new history of the building, which has been standing in the same spot for more than 800 years (200 as a museum); Greek Fire; The Works of W.B. Yeats; Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam; The Convert, a new fiction book.
Who is your favourite hero or heroine in fiction?
Maybe not my heroes, but I'm rereading The Talented Mr. Ripley and thinking about the relationship between Tom Ripley and Dickie Greenleaf.
What quote do you live by?
"You do you".
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"Long story short". (It's never really a short story with me.)
What is your guilty pleasure?
Alone time on an airplane.
What is your most treasured possession?
A diamond necklace given to me by brother Sid; an old Patek watch that was my father's.
Your idea of happiness?
When work is the same thing as what you do for fun.