The Aesthete: Wayne McGregor talks more personal taste

The choreographer/director concludes his list of likes with making like Robinson Crusoe off Kenya, shopping from his sitting room and losing himself in Shinichi Atobe’s otherworldly music

Wayne McGregor at home in London
Wayne McGregor at home in London | Image: Harry Mitchell

My style icon is the German industrial designer Dieter Rams. He’s elegant, and the things he makes are influential, rigorous and functional. His general philosophy is “less but better”, and this includes the way he dresses.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Bangalore. I went on a British Council tour and visited the Parikrma Humanity Foundation. The foundation has a deep respect for the value of arts and culture and works with children aged five to 18 from four orphanages and 99 slums. I met extraordinary people there, and although the city is very polluted, the dense smog creates an unusual light.parikrmahumanityfoundation.org.

Product designer Dieter Rams – McGregor’s style icon
Product designer Dieter Rams – McGregor’s style icon | Image: Getty Images

The last music I downloaded was Shinichi Atobe’s Butterfly Effect. I love experimental electronic music and this piece is mysterious, visceral and otherworldly. It’s music to get lost to.

In my fridge you’ll always find hummus, tomatoes and Huel – or “human fuel”. It’s nutritionally complete food – full of greens and fibre – and it’s great for a quick breakfast or lunch if I am working and can’t have a heavy meal. It also has a minimal impact on animals and the environment, which is a plus for me. uk.huel.com.

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An indulgence I would never forgo is listening to the radio. I build time into my day – whether it’s first thing in the morning or while I’m walking to work – to listen to BBC Radio 4 and learn about the current state of political affairs. I get very tired of visual noise and find the radio to be powerful.

The things I would never part with are my dogs. I have two whippets – Freud, named after Lucian, and Mies, after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – as well as Orez, a rescue dog. Possessions don’t mean very much to me, but these dogs are irreplaceable.

Butterfly Effect by Shinichi Atobe
Butterfly Effect by Shinichi Atobe

A recent “find” is the Swiss furniture brand Lehni, which produces beautiful aluminium shelving and benches and has a Donald Judd furniture collection that I love. Shelves, from SFr112, about £86; lehni.ch.

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Agnes Martin. Her paintings – in pale colours – are meditative, peaceful and ever-unfolding. I particularly like the meticulously rendered, square-canvas Morning, from 1965. 

Huel food drink – always found in McGregor’s fridge
Huel food drink – always found in McGregor’s fridge

My favourite room in my house is my library, where I can be surrounded by books by brilliant people on a wide variety of topics. The space is light-filled and has my favourite Dieter Rams chair – it’s the perfect place to think things through. 

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose my sitting room. I buy literally everything online – from clothing to food, furniture and lighting. One of my favourite resources for designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Rick Owens is Atelier New York, and I like LN-CC for shoes and accessories. The Berlin-based Darklands is my go-to for edgier labels by European designers, and I also like Zeitlos – another Berlin brand that specialises in Bauhaus and midcentury furnishings. Lastly, Darklight Design is the place I buy Davide Groppi’s simple, yet stunning lights. ateliernewyork.com. darklandsberlin.com. darklightdesign.com. ln-cc.com. zeitlosberlin.com.

Lamu, off the coast of Kenya
Lamu, off the coast of Kenya | Image: Alamy

The people I rely on for personal wellbeing are, first and foremost, my family and friends. They keep me healthy and happy. I also have an under-the-radar shiatsu massage therapist who is key for relaxation, as is the professional health team at Studio Wayne McGregor – especially our osteopath. I also love to swim at The Health Club at One Aldwych hotel. 1 Aldwych, London WC2 (020-7300 0600; onealdwych.com/health-club). 

If I didn’t live in London, the place I would live is Lamu, off the coast of Kenya. It is a Unesco World Heritage site for good reason: the beautiful Indian Ocean, the 18th-century Swahili architecture and the wandering donkeys make it a magical place. Mike’s Camp is an authentic place to stay with a Robinson Crusoe feel, while Manda Toto Island is the place to go for snorkelling and it can only be reached by dhow. For crafts made from local materials, Saba Furniture Company offers ethically produced, minimalist pieces that preserve inter-generational crafts. mikescampkiwayu.com. sabafurniturecompany.com

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If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be an architect. I love plans and watching them become a reality. I am currently fascinated by Manhattan Loft Gardens, a 42-storey skyscraper in London’s Stratford by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architects. It’s a double-cantilevered 135m tower with three sky gardens and I find it so inspiring. And I’d love to create the kind of serene spaces seen in the spare work of architects such as John Pawson. manhattanloftgardens.com

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