Ireland is famous for its rich history, cultural heritage and friendly personality, but to this day its growing design scene is somewhat of a hidden gem. With old architecture welcoming new, and a fresh generation of designers, Ireland is pushing boundaries in terms of innovative design. So if you’re into fashion, graphics, textiles and more then visit the Emerald Isle and experience authentic Irish design for yourself.
Fashion at the Year of Irish Design
This year Ireland is celebrating the Year of Irish Design with ‘ID2015’ – a year-long programme promoting the best of Irish design, craftsmanship and creativity. Meet renowned designers and upcoming talent as they showcase their work at exhibitions, festivals, workshops and talks. With events happening all across the country, 2015 is an exciting year to visit.
We really hope that people will enjoy the year and join in this celebration of great Irish design
Ireland is always changing and it’s cities like Dublin that are contributing to its growing reputation in terms of design. With fresh ideas, new start-ups and an emerging Creative Quarter, Dublin has been officially selected as the World Design Hub for 2015.
Temple Bar Gallery
If you’re into old-school techniques such as screen-printing and wood blocking, head to the Original Print Gallery where you can pick up something truly unique. Alternatively, if you like to keep things a little more contemporary, search for the Temple Bar Gallery. The studio itself is a modern building right in the heart of Dublin City and inside you’ll find an interesting cross section of Irish design in a variety of media. Dublin’s creative vibe is electric and the urge to make something is infectious – see for yourself at The Design Tower. Home to 17 exceptionally gifted designers and craftspeople; the public are invited to watch these highly experienced professionals at work. See ceramics, textiles and jewellery in the making and you’ll walk away feeling inspired.
The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Wandering around Dublin you can feel the Irish influence that has inspired the design of the city. Take a look at the spar of the famous Samuel Beckett Bridge, its shape is said to evoke an image of an Irish harp lying on its edge. The design and composition of the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on the Grand Canal is thought to create a dynamic place that mirrors the joy and drama found in Dublin itself. And of course, you can’t miss the impressive Convention Centre Dublin that sits on the edge of the River Liffey. Designed by local architect Kevin Roche, the 55-metre glass building was built with the view of Dublin’s skyline and the Wicklow Mountains in mind. Kevin took complete creative ownership of the centre, designing every facet of the building, right down to the door handles.
Dublin has a thriving design community – you can see the impact around the city as businesses start to realise the potential of local design talent.
Two people that know a thing or two about attention to detail are local designers Conor Nolan and David Wall. In 2006 the pair set up their own Dublin studio,
Conor & David, specialising in graphic and digital design. Speaking about design on a global scale the team believe Ireland has something valuable to offer – “the creative scene feels more connected and cohesive now than it ever did. Irish designers are starting to recognise their place in an international context and we’re excited to see where that takes us.”
Book design for Oliver Jeffers by Conor & David
When it comes to taking home an Irish souvenir, make sure it’s the real deal. Head to the Irish Design Shop where owners Clare Grennan and Laura Caffrey live and breathe Irish design. Selling a range of home-ware, stationery and accessories, the Irish Design Shop makes a point of promoting the local designer behind each product. And if you’re in Dublin at the weekend, be sure to get to Designer Mart, which is an outdoor market, located in the Old City area of Temple Bar. It showcases the very best of handmade craft produced by Irish and Ireland-based designers.
Irish Design Shop
In recent years independent shops started to emerge in Dublin – this aided the creation of a design community, one which has strengthened and grown.
Irish design doesn’t just stop with the aesthetically pleasing – it’s a feast for all the senses. With an array of modern cafes, bars and restaurants woven into the city’s cobbled streets, there’s a whole creative world waiting to be discovered. If you’re looking for a warm and friendly restaurant, go to the Eden Bar and Grill right in the middle of the Creative Quarter. The food is beautifully presented and the architecture gives the place an overall contemporary feel. Alternatively, take it back to the 1920s and head to the Vintage Cocktail Club. The interior design is quirky and the award-winning cocktails are the perfect excuse to try something new.
Food design in Dublin
From big buildings to small studio sets – discover why Irish design is making waves in the 21st Century.
Great design can be found all over Ireland, especially at Titanic Belfast, where the striking visitor attraction pays homage to the city’s rich maritime heritage. The building’s angular design was inspired by the bow of a ship and inside it features an intricate crisscross of suspended walkways. With nine high-tech galleries, all featuring interactive design, you can explore the shipyard and travel to the depths of the ocean in innovative ways.
The MAC, Belfast
If you’re impressed by modern architecture, check out Belfast’s award-winning arts centre The MAC. A key cultural element in the regeneration of the Cathedral Quarter, The MAC has been recognised for its architectural excellence. Designed by Irish architects, Hall McKnight, the building deploys a structural language drawn from the traditional brickwork in Belfast and sets the standard for architects up and down the British Isles.