Interview with w|ė founder Leonie Cornelius
How did you get started in garden design?
My journey to what I do now was not a straight path. When I was young I wanted to be a singer….then a music producer and I did a lot of that. But I found that I wanted to be creative in a more direct way and decided to study interior architecture. I absolutely loved that but when I finished the 5 year degree it was hard to find jobs in that field ask Ireland was deep in recession. When my son was young I decided that gardens design would be the perfect combination with architecture – that inside outside connection. So I came to it through other creative design I guess and that’s why I love the connection of inside outside too!
How would you describe your style as a designer?
I love wild nature and also strong architecture. The combination of soft wild planting and schemes teamed with clean, contemporary human made lines really excites me. They somehow support each other and for me that pick up in the symbiotic relationship we as humans have with nature- we need nature and nature needs us to protect it.
So what is w|ė ?
‘I think the best way to describe it is an online wild based lifestyle approach. I love gardens, design and wild nature and I equally love connecting with people. w|ė addresses all of that- our connection with the wild, with ourselves and with each other. As a designer working on my own you miss that connection sometimes. My biggest hope is to help other to create special places of joy for them- through design, courses and and also that you might come to check out the w|ė magazine page when you crave a dose of happy wild and want to feel connected and that it gives you inspiration and knowledge and joy.’
What made you decide to launch w|ė
’It was during that first lockdown when the whole world sort of stopped that I had this strange AHA moment- that moment when you know something has shifted fundamentally and changed in how you see what you do and how you go about life. I realised that even though I was designing beauty for people every day, my own everyday connections with the wild and that balance and harmony that it can bring was lacking…I was rushing around trying to organise my every day as a single parent and not seeing and appreciating all the amazing beauty we have in our country enough.
I suddenly saw this pandemic as a way to re-evaluate how I live every day and how we can harness that connection to nature- and each other- to live more simply, more joyfully. For me w|ė became a chance to explore how we all live, every day- and start to integrate a new kind of lifestyle into our everyday in a joyful and connected way.
The idea of going back to our lives after the pandemic to the same way we were before just suddenly felt all wrong’
What does w|ė offer to the public ?
‘A chance to fill your senses with a bit of wild joy. I also offer new exciting online courses, unique collaborations and monthly content- all with a focus on wild design and joyful connections.
The custom courses are both LIVE and on-demand and aim to make the whole process of designing spaces, living in tune with nature and surrounding ourselves with beauty simple, joyful and achievable for all.
Collaborating with friends, businesses and brands has been a core aspect of my business and with the new w|ė new venture I hope to really build on this more. The excitement of creating a community of like minded thinkers and wild beauty enthusiasts is one of my biggest goals going forwards.
I guess it was this collaborative aspect which got me so excited. Whether it’s working with the my online course community, other wild inspired businesses and brands, smaller businesses and all the way to inspiring individuals like designers, architects, chefs, psychologists ….this community of like-minded people are coming together to create something new. It’s so exciting. And now with the world more connected than ever anything is possible. I am so excited for what the future holds!’