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Ireland selected by London Festival of Architecture as inaugural Focus Country for 2015

London, 2 February 2015: Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) today announced plans for Ireland’s participation in London Festival of Architecture 2015, a month-long, citywide celebration of architectural experimentation, thinking and practice, taking place at venues across London throughout the month of June. 

Ireland has also been selected by London Festival of Architecture (LFA) as the inaugural Focus Country for this 2015 edition, a major coup for Ireland during the year which sees Irish design being promoted and celebrated in Ireland and internationally.   

London Festival of Architecture 2015 will be the first outing of New Horizon, a series of presentations of the work of 10 emerging Irish practices, in three high-profile venues around the world.  New Horizon forms part of Irish Design 2015 (ID2015), a year-long initiative backed by the Irish government exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design throughout Ireland and internationally. Selected by curators Raymund Ryan and Nathalie Weadick, each of the 10 practices is allocated to one of the three global cities. Their challenge is to represent key aspects of their work in a setting or installation specific to their site and host city.

The venues for London are Kings Cross and the Design Museum and the five emerging practices being presented by ID2015 in London have been named as Emmett Scanlon, Clancy Moore, TAKA, Steve Larkin and Hall McKnight. Reflecting the essence of ID2015, the architects and designers are encouraged to both work together and collaborate with other emerging talents in contemporary Irish design culture.

The announcement was made at a reception hosted by the Irish Ambassador to Great Britain, H.E. Daniel Mulhall, at the Irish Embassy in London, to honour internationally renowned architects Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey of O’Donnell + Tuomey, the 2015 recipients of the Royal Gold Medal, the world’s most prestigious architecture award.  Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved by Her Majesty The Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence “either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture”.

The presentation of the annual award to an Irish architecture practice comes during an exciting year for Irish design in almost every form. Through a programme of events and activities engaging the public, the design community and businesses both in Ireland and internationally, ID2015 aims to showcase the very best of Irish design in order to drive job creation, grow exports and increase competitiveness, presenting the work of Irish designers at high profile events in design capitals around the world.

Laura Magahy, Executive Chair of Irish Design 2015 extended her congratulations to Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey on receiving the Royal Gold Medal and said it was particularly fitting that they were the recipients of this prestigious award in 2015. “Events and activities both at home and abroad throughout 2015 will position Ireland at the heart of a design-focused, forward-thinking creative economy. Our international programme aims to raise awareness of the quality and diversity of Irish design to discerning audiences around the world. We are extremely honoured that Ireland has been selected as the inaugural Focus Country for London Festival of Architecture and we look forward to working with the festival team in promoting Irish businesses working in the architecture and built environment space as one of the highlights of the ID2015 programme,” she said.

Patricia Brown, Chair of the London Festival of Architecture, commented: “London is a global city and its architectural firms work across the world, attracting international talent. Keen to express and promote this, the London Festival of Architecture is taking an increasingly international dimension. As part of this, we are delighted to welcome Ireland as our inaugural Focus Country, and are thrilled that Irish Design 2015 will be an important component of LFA 2015.” 

ID2015 will also host a programme of workshops and events with London Festival of Architecture and the Design Museum as part of New Horizon’s run in London.  Plans are also being put in place for We Built This City, an Irish Architecture Foundation initiative delivered for ID2015, which aims to tell the story of how cities are created and the impact and contribution from Irish construction and design industries historically and to the present day. 

Following London Festival of Architecture, New Horizon will travel to two other events as part of the ID2015 programme, introducing the work of further architecture practices. The second installment of New Horizon will be during the first Chicago Architecture Biennial, which takes place October 2015 – January 2016, and will feature GKMP, A2 Architects and Ryan Kennihan.  The final event will be at the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, which takes place December 2015 – March 2016, featuring Urban Agency and AP+E.


For further information, please contact: 

Katherine Sandford-Anderson | Sandford PR | katherine@sandfordpr.com | 07802 481996
Leslie Curtis | Sandford PR | leslie@sandfordpr.com | 07513 554465

Notes to Editors: 

About Irish Design 2015:
Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) is a year-long initiative backed by the Irish government exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design throughout Ireland and internationally in order to drive job creation, grow exports and increase competitiveness. The programme for the year includes presenting the work of Irish designers at high profile events in design capitals including London, Paris, Eindhoven, Milan, New York, Chicago and Hong Kong/Shenzhen.  ID2015 is being convened by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI), in collaboration with partner organisations, on behalf of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Enterprise Ireland. ID2015 partners include Founding Partners - MCO Projects; Accommodation Partners - The Doyle Collection; Venue Partners - OPW; Exhibition Partners – DAA; Technology Partners - IBM and Broadcast Partners - RTÉ.  www.irishdesign2015.ie

About New Horizon:
New Horizon draws its inspiration from important thresholds in the history of contemporary Irish architecture. In 1991 eight practices working collaboratively as Group 91 won the master plan competition for Temple Bar in Dublin City Centre; born in the 1950s, several of these architects have gone on to significant international careers. Between Ireland’s initial Venice Pavilion in 2000 and the most recent in 2014, key architects of the generation born in the 1960s have represented Ireland with flair at the prestigious Venice Biennale International Exhibition of Architecture. The architects participating in New Horizon belong to the next generation. Born after the 1970s and educated on the cusp of the new millennium, they commenced practice as Europe’s economy encountered formidable challenges. These new practices have not only weathered that storm, they exhibit resourcefulness and optimism in their profession. Each has found a way to practice critically, to look at what exists in nature and the built environment, to discover potential in previously overlooked situations, to collaborate across disciplines and evolve new modes of practice for the 21st century. The scope of this work is both Irish and conscious of global design culture. It looks to a better future. 

The practices being presented during London Festival of Architecture 2015: 

  • Emmett Scanlon - www.emmettscanlon.ie
  • Clancy Moore (led by partners Andrew Clancy MRIAI and Colm Moore ARB (UK)) - www.clancymoore.com 
  • TAKA (led by partners Alice Casey ARB (UK) and Cian Deegan MRIAI) - www.taka.ie
  • Steve Larkin - www.stevelarkinarchitects.ie 
  • Hall McKnight - www.hallmcknight.com 

About London Festival of Architecture: 
The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) celebrates London as a global hub of architectural experimentation, practice and debate. Under its Chair, Patricia Brown, together with founding partners The Architecture Foundation, New London Architecture, and RIBA London, the annual festival provokes questions about the contemporary and future life of the city, and promotes positive change to its public realm. The city-wide programme is delivered by leading cultural and academic institutions alongside associated projects by practices and individuals. www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/

#LFA2015; @LFArchitecture; 

About Design Museum: 
The Design Museum is one of the world’s leading museums devoted to architecture and design. Its work encompasses all elements of design, including fashion, product and graphic design. Since it opened its doors in 1989 the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 to the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress. It has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over five million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers including Thomas Heatherwick, Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Ive, Miuccia Prada, Frank Gehry, Eileen Gray and Dieter Rams. The Design Museum is relocating from its current home at Shad Thames to the former Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington, West London. The project is expected to be completed by 2016. Leading designer John Pawson will convert the interior of the Commonwealth Institute building to create a new home for the Design Museum giving it three times more space in which to show a wider range of exhibitions, showcase its world class collection and significantly extend its learning programme. www.designmuseum.org

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