The Design Editor: An Interview with Architectural Digest + Clever's Sydney Gore
I first met Sydney Gore through Instagram (hers is a well-curated mix of lifestyle images, impromptu snapshots, and design insight) and later on as my editor at Architectural Digest + Clever :) Sydney’s approach to both design and design writing is honestly a huge breath of fresh air: her energy is dynamic but thoughtful, cool but informed. It’s been a huge pleasure working with Sydney as my editor (she’s super patient with my writing and always has an encouraging word) and to see her growing her influence in the design world even beyond working with the magazine.
What Sydney represents to me is a new generation changing the design world into a place that is relevant and forward-thinking - you can see in Sydney’s writing and curation that she has an eye for both trend forecasting and the classics, synthesizing them into an aesthetic approach that appeals to today’s design collector.
Sydney was kind enough to come on to Jelly and share more about her relationship with design, answering questions about memory, design books, and an important choice: upstate or downtown?
What was your earliest memory of something beautifully designed?
Lately, I've been thinking about the impact that the American Girl A*G Minis had on me. That was probably my earliest exposure to the interior design space, but I didn't make the connection until I was interviewing with Amy Astley for my job at AD this past April. A few weeks before that happened, I was cleaning my childhood bedroom when my eyes glazed over the box with the loft apartment—suddenly, I noticed that all of the tiny pieces of furniture had chrome legs, which is exactly what I'm into now as an adult. It's funny because I knew nothing about the Bauhaus era, but that's what spoke to me even back then. (Someday I'll write a think piece about this so stay tuned for that.) The vibes in the Goodnight Moon room are also worth interrogating on a deeper level.
The strangest chair you've ever laid eyes on …
Real talk, I still don't get what everyone sees in the Roly-Poly chair... This might be considered a hot take, but I'm finally breaking my silence. (Where do we think it falls on this spectrum of chair design and function?) No disrespect to Faye Toogood, I love her work! The Puffy Lounge chair is comfy AF and I wish that I could afford it. What currently bothers me most of all is the beautiful chairs being reupholstered with bouclé—I'm begging you, please make it stop!
What would you like to see more of?
Spatial awareness in the sense of who is permitted to occupy a space. I spend a lot of time talking to my BIPOC friends about this because our collective concern is sharing the space that we take up. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to do this work so I'm doing everything in my power to pay it forward. (It can be as simple as recommending someone else for an opportunity that wouldn't be considered otherwise.) I still have so much to learn and that's what keeps me motivated as a writer and editor. There's so much room to explore in the world of design and I believe that anyone who is interested deserves to have access to it. Time's up for all the gatekeepers 👏🏾
One book you like to leave out in your home is …
I'll admit that I don't read books as consistently as I used to, but I take great pride in my personal library. I find it really hard to let go of books to the point where I grieve the loss of copies that were loaned and never returned. (Possibly my biggest regret in life, learn from my mistakes!) During the pandemic, I noticed so many people buying books to match their aesthetic which I found amusing. Even if it's just for decoration, I like books with character. I had Margaret H. Harmon's Psycho-decorating: What Homes Reveal about People on my list after seeing it posted somewhere on Instagram—the book was published in 1971 and is extremely outdated but entertaining so that's a fun one for my guests to flip through. My apartment is filled with books that I don't have nearly enough shelving for, but from where I sit, too many books is a good problem to have!
If I had to choose, the most prized book in my collection is probably Wayside and Woodland's Fungi which was illustrated by Beatrix Potter, my favorite author and illustrator as a child. I didn't know about the book until I started working on a trend story about mushrooms and the timing of it all felt very kismet. I spent months hunting it down and finally got lucky on eBay when my offer was accepted from a seller. I recently got my hands on the French counterpart, Les Champignons, too so now I have both editions in my collection. (Not that it's anyone's business, but I didn't spend hundreds of dollars on them.)
Upstate or downtown?
I regularly fantasize about moving upstate and renovating a house that I own... Now that's what I call the American dream, baby!
Gaetano Pesce or Gae Aulenti?
Pesce plz! ⬤