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Jim Walrod August 25 1961 – September 23 2017

Sep 30th, 2017

//Jim Walrod, 2012. Photo: Jeremy Liebman//

I said many times to Jim – and have reflected on this over the last few days – that not many people get to pursue their passion every day of their adult lives. Jim did that. He never went to ‘work’. He did not care if he made money doing it, he just wanted to be able to have you understand what he saw and to have your opinion on it.
Kathy Walrod

Jim Walrod, who has died aged 56, occupied a unique position in the world of international design.

A collector, curator, writer and sometime retailer, as well as an interior designer and locator of unusual and one-off furniture and lighting pieces for a diverse selection of celebrity and private clients, the rangy, sandy-haired Walrod cut a singular figure.

Enthusiastic, informed and slyly humorous, Walrod was founder with Jack Feldman and Fred Schneider of the B-52s of New York’s important 90s/00s store Form & Function and described as “the ultimate design raconteur” by hotelier André Balazs.

To Mike D of the Beastie Boys he was “the furniture pimp”, an accolade won in part for having sourced Memphis designs for David Bowie (Jim revealed to me just a few weeks ago that some of these Italian PoMo pieces came via Tommy Roberts, subject of my book Mr Freedom).

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RIP Gary Warnett, streetwear guru and sneaker supremo

Sep 28th, 2017

//Warnett in his element. Photo: Hypebeast, to which he was a regular contributor//

This is a terrible week for those of us interested in the accumulation of knowledge and expertise surrounding design, music and popular culture.

I was settling in to write an obituary for New York design hero Jim Walrod when news came through last night that British sneaker guru Gary Warnett – a similarly irreplaceable figure – had also unexpectedly died.

Warnett was 39; the cause was attributed to complications arising from pneumonia.

The former content editor for label Crooked Tongues, Warnett was a streetwear obsessive who worked with the world’s biggest brands. Still he found the time to pursue a wide array of interests as evinced by his excellent Gwarizm/Still Lameaphobic site.

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For Jim Walrod – ‘Decoration is the danger, function is the idea’: The On 1st experiment in conceptual art retailing

Sep 27th, 2017

** This post is dedicated to the New York design thinker and doer Jim Walrod, who has passed away. Just a couple of weeks ago I mentioned my intention to post about On 1st to Jim over dinner. Of course, he knew about the store but was excited to see what fresh info I might have turned up. I’ll write about Jim when I have collected my thoughts; wherever he is, I am sure Jim will join us all in the necessary proclamation: Fuck Trump**

//At the entrance to 1159 1st Avenue at 63rd was Sven Lukin’s two-tonne illuminated sign. Photo: Bert Stern//

//On 1st interior including displays of Roy Lichtenstein wallpaper and Gerald Laing plates. Photo: Bert Stern//

In conversation this summer, British artist Duggie Fields revealed to me that, during a sojourn in the US in 1968, he had been in line to work at photographer Bert Stern’s “architecturally mind-blowing” art store/publishing house On 1st in Manhattan’s east side.

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AJ article on 430 caps a busy week packed with DIY Cultures, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Apartamento et al

May 15th, 2015
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//Spread from AJ featuring images of Mr Freedom + Paradise Garage. Photo: Caz Facey//

It’s been a busy and satisfying week, rounded off by publication today in the Architects Journal of an essay of mine on the cultural significance of 430 King’s Road.

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‘Beautiful objects but don’t try to read a book by them!’ Rad Light: The Radical Lighting Collection Of Jim Walrod

Apr 14th, 2015

XB2W6337 XB2W6257 XB2W6177 XB2W6405//Clockwise from top left: A UFO by Ettore Sotsass, Italy 1957. Manufacturer Arredoluce; Passiflora by Superstudio, Italy 1966. Manufacturer: Design Centre; Belt Lamp by Gaetano Pesce, USA 1995. Manufacturer: Fish Design; C2 by Studio Rossi-Molinari, Italy 1969. Manufacturer: Totem//

“These lamps were in no way meant to be utilitarian. They were mass produced as expressions of art by the most innovative designers working at the time and are beautiful objects. Just don’t try to read a book by them!”

The pick of design authority and interiors practitioner Jim Walrod’s extraordinary lighting collection is on display at New York’s Patrick Parrish Gallery until Sunday (April 19).

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‘The most radical designer of objects and furniture in the latter 20th century and early 21st century”: Jim Walrod on Gaetano Pesce in Bad Day #18

Oct 13th, 2014

pesce1The current issue of arts and culture magazine Bad Day is enlivened by an engaging interview with the eminent designer and architect Gaetano Pesce by one of his most vocal champions, design authority Jim Walrod.

Augmented by Jeremy Liebman’s photographs, the feature makes a strong case for Pesce’s significance. “He’s the most punk rock person I’ve ever met,” writes Walrod of the 74-year-old.

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Issue 18 of Bad Day has sold out but visit the magazine’s excellent website for further elucidation.

Liebman’s website is here; Pesce’s is here.

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I Knew Jim Knew: Jim Walrod knows a thing or two…

May 27th, 2014
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//Jacket photograph Terry Richardson with shots from Walrod’s Instagram feed//

Design authority Jim Walrod wears a deep and wide-ranging understanding of his subject – specifically that pertaining to modernism in furniture, interiors, product design and architecture  – lightly.

This is refreshing in a field populated by bloodless experts and humourless know-alls. The founder of important 90s/00s store Form & Function, Walrod –  described as “the ultimate design raconteur” by André Balazs and “the furniture pimp” by the Beastie Boys – is above all an enthusiast.

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