The Design Director at Plain English shares the Insta accounts that inspire him.

Merlin Wright is Design Director at Plain English and British Standard by Plain English, the pre-eminent cupboard-makers whose quiet, spare simplicity is the gold standard against which all other cabinetry must be measured. As he says, ‘I can always tell within a few seconds of looking at an image, whether a design is ours and not one of our competitors… It can be as much about what we leave out as what we put into a design.’ Inspired in part by the below-stairs aesthetic of grand country houses, the design team that Merlin oversees is impressively agile, creating knock-out Plain English kitchens, sculleries and more for all manner of homes, from the ultra-contemporary to gloriously period. The abiding refrain? An onus on perfect proportions.

Straddling the present and past with ease is a quality that comes naturally to Merlin Wright. The son of an architect, he remembers that his father, ‘always enjoyed the past, but he also had a modern sensibility.’ It has been an enduring influence, as he explains. ‘Often, we mix our plain or contemporary designs with the more traditional, blurring periods and styles, because many buildings are like that anyway: they have evolved over time.’

Here he shares the achingly cool, seriously stylish and plain fun accounts he follows on Instagram.


The design diary of Alice Rawsthorn; journalist, author and curator. Incredibly knowledgeable, Alice brings our attention to a wide range of design related issues.


A fantastic magazine which explores art, culture, design, philosophy and anything else it can think of.


A glamorous and very well-funded magazine which features articles and short films on art, design, music and erotica.


A brilliant idea: an estate agent which only deals with cool properties. Has now expanded to include publishing and a magazine but the website itself is better than most design magazines anyway.


Enticing photos of places I'd rather be, for a visit anyway.


Brutalist and mad soviet Modernism.


Good for an overview of what's happening in the design world, both good and bad.


A magazine which celebrates the eccentric, the timeworn and the overlooked.


We've worked with Howe. Christopher has a great eye for quality and the hidden harmonies between objects of all types and periods.


Beautiful things, beautifully presented.


Artist, sculptor and alchemist of colour and shapes.


More colour – the dramatic and emotional power of film examined through colour analysis.


Investigates and sometimes sells the furniture and accessories from films.


Mesmerising short demos of calligraphy, sometimes a bit rude.


Unusual people in their unusual dwellings.


A bit of fun; contributors send in real life snaps of locations that resemble the flat, pastel, unplaceable images of Wes Anderson's films.

By Nancy Alsop
October 2020


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Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.