Aidan’s MA in History from Cambridge University was a highly appropriate education, he claims, for his ‘first career’ in furniture design and cabinetmaking – itself an admirable preparation for 20 years of writing for, editing and directing design magazines. He has editorially directed almost all the professional UK design magazines, including FX, Blueprint, Design, Grand Designs, icon and onoffice. As Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and director of Aidan Walker Associates, he now creates, curates, presents and chairs conference and seminar programmes such as ‘Art for Tomorrow’ for The New York Times and the content programmes for the Global Design Forum, Design Shanghai and Grand Designs Live. He is also Content Director of culture travel channel Leading Culture Destinations and its related awards scheme. Aidan has practised Hatha Yoga, including a spell teaching, all his adult life, and in his 20s spent six years as a fully dedicated member of the Brahma Kumaris, living and teaching the principles of Raja Yoga – 100% celibacy, 4am meditation 365 days a year, ‘in the world but not of it’. This led to the publication of his book ‘The Ecology of the Soul – Peace, Power and Personal Growth for Real People in the Real World’ in 2016. His new book ‘Mindful Design – Principles and Practice’ is currently in preparation, combining his experience in the creative and professional world with a lifetime of meditation and mindfulness – long before it was fashionable. Aidan lives in rural Sussex with his family, his dogs, his Ducati racing motorbike and his guitars.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Which living person do you most admire?
Can't I have a dead one?
What is your greatest extravagance?
Not my Ducati 1098R racing motorbike, but the racing of it.
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Which talent would you most like to have?
Excellent guitar playing.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A black-headed gull on the north Nofolk coast (assuming a gull is a thing).
Where would you most like to live?
Under my dream olive tree at a long table with my beloved, kids and grandkids in my dream Italian orchard.
What is your most treasured possession?
My Guild JF-30 guitar (a personal favourite of Slash's).
What is your favorite occupation?
What do you mean, what would I like to be when I grow up? Or what do I most like doing? Easy answer to the second one.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty. And love. Of course.
Who are your favorite writers?
Fiona MacCarthy (beautiful biographies of Gill, Morris et al), James Ellroy (butchers the English language and stitches it back together again in an entirely different beat), Elmore Leonard (the lightest touch and the truest ear for dialogue of all crime writers), Lee Child (the creator of today's great Knight Errant, Jack Reacher. And I don't mean Tom Cruise), Patrick O'Brian (the greatest historical novelist of all - proper literature).
Who is your hero of fiction?
Jack Reacher. And I don't mean Tom Cruise.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Can I have a fictional one? Jack Aubrey, Patrick O'Brian's Master & Commander, a consummate seaman but a bit dim on land.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My friend Ian Barnes. There are many out there, but I don't know them. I know Ian.
What is it that you most dislike?
Bad manners. Me and David Byrne both hate people when they're not polite.
What is your greatest regret?
Not pushing myself to learn music better when I was a kid.
What is your motto?
Om Shanti - I am a peaceful soul.