Derek McLeod's Story


My love for design has always paralleled my love for food and drink. A loaf of bread that I bake is held in similar regard to furniture I create, and the moments with friends and family when I have shared that bread on a table I crafted epitomizes my passion and pleasures.


So, when my sense of smell, and subsequently flavour, vanished mysteriously in 2017, much of my motivation vanished with it.


Imagine if you can a world without flavour. Where what food you consume doesn’t particularly matter, where the grape varietal is of no consequence, where a favourite snack is a mere ghost of what you have come to cherish. With the sudden loss of such a fundamental source of human enjoyment, my world became a grey and dull place, stripped of its pleasure and variety.


In time I have realized that life’s pleasures are myriad, and have begun rethinking my relationship to food, design, and craftsmanship. The objects I create are but props for the activities that we humans engage in. I have never intended my ideas to seize the spotlight, rather that they are the stage and backdrop for our dramas and successes, our failures and struggles, our boredoms and contented sighs. A chair that is both beautiful and comfortable encourages us to sit together longer, perhaps even enjoying the company and conversation more than the meal.


I have cared about design and proportion and form and colour for all of my adult life: the way that a chair’s legs, arms, and other parts make up a pleasing and comfortable whole, or the structure and surface that define a table’s basic requirements. I am enjoying newfound vigour for the process of design as well as what uncommonly beautiful common objects represent. I am baking bread still, and taking pleasure in making a good looking loaf that brings joy to the people I love.


This same philosophy is present in my renewed approach to design. With a few pieces of wood, considered proportions, and delicate craft, something remarkable can be created. Going forward, my focus will be on the objects that I can create, and the pleasures they inspire. It must be. Since my nose can no longer participate in shared enjoyment of food and drink, my hands and eyes and mind will occupy themselves to their fullest capacity. Please take my hand as we venture forth.


Derek McLeod, 2020


© 2021 Derek McLeod Design Inc.