My personal style signifier is brown leather Oxford shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo. Formed from a single piece of leather, they wear well and look beautiful. From £725;

Walsh’s Salvatore Ferragamo Oxfords, from £725
Walsh’s Salvatore Ferragamo Oxfords, from £725 © Tristan Hutchinson

The last thing I bought and loved was a custom-made, tan leather briefcase with brass fittings from bespoke shoemaker Scheer in Vienna. This extraordinary atelier is run by the seventh generation of the same family and its pieces are timeless and functional.

Walsh’s custom-made leather briefcase from Sheer in Vienna
Walsh’s custom-made leather briefcase from Sheer in Vienna

And the thing I’m eyeing next is a winter coat to replace the long, brown Canali one I bought in Amsterdam years ago. I am very attached to it, but I’ve worn it so thin it’s getting embarrassing.

The Shinto Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Japan
The Shinto Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Japan

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the 2000-year-old Shinto Tsubaki Grand Shrine in rural Japan, where I had an exhibition last year. Witnessing the everyday rituals going on around us made it so special.

A recent “find” is Ulysses Rare Books in Dublin. The books are a joy and some are so exquisitely bound they become beautiful objects. I like to think I can still discover things in them that can’t be found online.

The best gift I’ve given recently was a set of Cuttings V wine glasses by Martino Gamper for J Hill’s Standard, which I gave to a friend. Anike Tyrell established the company to regenerate the image of Waterford glass and invited international designers like Gamper to collaborate with master glasscutters from the area. The results are stunning. €135 per glass;

Joseph Walsh at home in Ireland
Joseph Walsh at home in Ireland © Tristan Hutchinson

In my fridge you’ll always find a large stock of lemon curd from Chatsworth House farm shop – I bring some home each time I deliver a piece of furniture to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire; it’s delicious on fresh bread. And natural yoghurt from Glenilen, a small dairy farm in Cork. £3.99; £1.59 for 500g;

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Via Montenapoleone in Milan. It’s full of my favourite Italian labels, such as Prada for impeccable shirts. But there are incredible lesser-known brands too. I love Fedeli and Falconeri for the understated quality of their knitwear. My days are so full of decision-making that I like simple, reliable clothes. Pasticceria Marchesi is perfect if I’m in the mood for a refined afternoon coffee and a pastry. Falconeri, Via della Spiga 3 ( Fedeli, Via Montenapoleone 8 ( Pasticceria Marchesi, Via Montenapoleone 9 ( Prada, Via Montenapoleone 8 (

Pork belly and rhubarb at Bastion restaurant in Kinsale
Pork belly and rhubarb at Bastion restaurant in Kinsale © Denis Minihane

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Bastion, an unassuming restaurant in Kinsale. The chef, Paul McDonald, is exceptional: his food is contemporary but doesn’t try too hard, and dishes are made with exquisite, locally sourced ingredients, including Irish cheeses, such as goat’s, that easily rival French varieties.

My favourite room in my house in Kinsale is “Ed’s room”. I asked the painter Ed Miliano to produce an artwork in the 18th-century parlour of our family farmhouse after some restoration work a few years ago, and he painted a mural of an abstracted forest that wraps around the entire room. It’s magical.

Walsh’s Omega Seamaster watch that belonged to his grandfather
Walsh’s Omega Seamaster watch that belonged to his grandfather © Tristan Hutchinson

An object I would never part with is my Omega Seamaster watch. It belonged first to my grandfather, then to my mum, who gave it to me in 2015 when I received an honorary doctorate from University College Cork. It reminds me of both of them, so I like to have it with me – especially when I travel.

My favourite website is, I guess! Flights are the only things I buy online and I don’t use apps, much to my friends’ dismay.

American textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen in 1982
American textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen in 1982 © Getty Images

My style icon is Jack Lenor Larsen, the man behind Larsen textiles. He is just the coolest; he has impeccable style, topped off with amazing hats. He once gave me a tie he designed that was made here in Ireland in the 1960s.

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a classic white Prada shirt that I picked up in Harrods. I had to fly to London at the last minute and didn’t have time to pack. Prada stretch poplin shirt, £335, from

The best book I’ve read in the past year is Watermark, the poet Joseph Brodsky’s essay on Venice. I’ve been working on a project for next year’s Biennale and this small book transforms how you see and experience the city.

Stages of Life by Caspar David Friedrich
Stages of Life by Caspar David Friedrich © Bridgeman Images

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is impossible to choose, but two I’d begin with are Jacob Hashimoto, because his kites have an incredible freedom of expression and beauty, and the 19th-century landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich. I love the way his paintings invite the viewer to stand inside them with the subjects and look into the land or seascape.

Piccolo Teatro in Milan
Piccolo Teatro in Milan © Masiar Pasquali

If I didn’t live in Kinsale, the city I would live in is Milan. I used to have a small apartment there and I enjoyed how easy it was to discover new things through exhibitions and performances. Finding Piccolo Teatro, Milan’s first public theatre, was a highlight of that time. I still visit the city regularly and always drop into the Nilufar gallery where I know I’ll find something interesting from the past. The men’s clothing store Larusmiani is another favourite: the downstairs section is filled with every accessory a man could ever need. Museo Bagatti Valsecchi is fascinating too: a historic-house museum, it’s full of 15th- and 16th-century paintings and decorative objects. Larusmiani, Via Montenapoleone 7, 20121 ( Museo Bagatti Valsecchi, Via Gesù 5, 20121 ( Nilufar, Via della Spiga 32, 20121 ( Piccolo Teatro, Via Rovello 2, 20121 (

The last music I downloaded or bought was so long ago I can’t remember. I don’t do downloads, and although I have a turntable, I don’t often go record shopping.

The best gift I’ve received recently was a box of Alphonso mangoes from the film producer and designer Ambika Hinduja Macker, after I installed a sculpture for her in India. It wasn’t a surprise – there’s a mango exchange whenever and wherever we meet. We joke that they are our currency.

Walsh’s tea caddy from Japan, centre
Walsh’s tea caddy from Japan, centre © Tristan Hutchinson

The best souvenir I’ve brought home recently is a tin tea caddy from Kaikado in Kyoto. It’s an old family workshop that is committed to its craft and is inventing new ways for people to use what is a very traditional Japanese household object. From £110,

An indulgence I would never forgo is time for a proper meal. I have dinner with a friend on Wednesdays, and twice a week a local chef, Una Crosbie, comes and cooks lunch, perhaps a traditional fish pie, for me and my team. It’s hard to imagine life without this shared quality time during our working days.

The person I rely on for personal grooming is my local hairdresser Fintan Lynch. Grooming is quite low on my list of priorities, but when I have to run to an exhibition opening, I call him.

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be either an archaeologist – because I enjoy discovering new things and understanding how they inform today – or a forester. I’ve done a little bit of tree planting and I find seeing trees come into leaf each spring very fulfilling.

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