The best of Irish design showcased in venues across London for London Design Festival as part of Irish Design 2015

Irish design is in the spotlight in London this month, with four initiatives taking place in high-profile locations across the city for London Fashion Week (LFW) and London Design Festival (LDF).  As part of the Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) international programme of events and activities, the work of over 70 Irish designers and makers is being showcased to audiences from all over the world in order to profile Irish creativity and innovation on the international stage.

Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash, TD visited the prestigious V&A today to see The Ogham Wall, presented by Irish Design 2015 in partnership with London Design Festival. Designed by Grafton Architects in collaboration with Graphic Relief, and sponsored by Techrete, this ambitious landmark project for LDF2015 weaves narrative and culture with monumental design.  The installation was inspired by the Irish Ogham alphabet, dating from approximately the 4th century AD and consists of 23 concrete fins stretching to a height of three metres. The imposing forms of The Ogham Wall will fill the V&A’s Tapestry Gallery until October 11th.

Minister Nash also officially launched Ó, an exhibition of new work from Ireland’s designers and makers at Tent London as part of LDF2015. Ó, meaning ‘from’ in the Irish language, conveys the story of Ireland as a source of creative ideas and making, and explains how its craft heritage inspires new and contemporary design. The exhibition features beautifully designed products in stone, glass, ceramics, wood and textiles from 30 designers who are passionate about materials and production and who possess a strong sense of place. Curated by Steven McNamara, Ó marks the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s fourth annual exhibition at London Design Festival.

In launching Ó, Minister Nash said: “Presenting the work of leading Irish designers and craftspeople at international events such as Tent London will be instrumental in growing Ireland’s reputation abroad as a home for innovative work across a broad range of disciplines. This renowned trade show during London Design Festival will be an excellent introduction to key international contacts for the participating designers, generating new market penetration and export opportunities for Irish businesses that have the ambition and ability to expand into markets abroad.   There are over 5,000 people working in the craft sector in Ireland, making an invaluable contribution to our economy and culture, creating employment opportunities and visitor experiences in both urban and rural areas throughout the island.”  

Minister Nash added: “Ó is one of a number of events at London Design Festival as part of Irish Design 2015 (ID2015).  This government-backed initiative is about harnessing Irish creativity and promoting it to the world, providing a platform for showcasing the skills and talents of Irish designers, craftspeople and manufacturers who are gaining a reputation world-wide for their individuality, quality and creativity. We look forward to seeing commercial opportunities unfold over the coming months and years from Ireland’s significant presence during this high profile design festival.”

ID2015 is working to create an international platform for Irish designers and makers to develop new sales opportunities and build their brand profile internationally through new media opportunities. Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of ID2015 said that providing established and emerging designers with opportunities to present their work internationally is vital to sustaining and growing the Irish design and craft sector and that the experience and industry knowledge gained from participating in these events in London will help to progress the industry at home. 

“Through the Irish Design 2015 programme, we are seeing real commercial opportunities emerge for developing international markets.  Following the fantastic response to the work of designers showcased during Ireland’s presence at the International Fashion Showcase at London Fashion Week earlier this year, Milan Design Week, Wanted Design at New York Design Week and the London Festival of Architecture, we are delighted to be introducing the latest work from established and emerging Irish designers to discerning audiences during London Fashion Week and London Design Festival in September. These designers have the ambition and capability to expand into international markets.  We look forward to seeing opportunities materialise from our presence in London, building a legacy for the ongoing development of our innovative and vibrant craft and design sector,” Ms. Hennessy said.

Earlier this week saw the unveiling of The Souvenir Project which was commissioned by ID2015 and DCCoI to inspire innovation and promote collaborations between designers and makers in Ireland. Under the curation and creative direction of Jonathan Legge, Makers & Brothers, the project presents a collection of nine contemporary objects developed by over 20 Irish makers and designers across a broad range disciplines. The Souvenir Project continues at Rochelle School, Arnold Circus until Sunday 27th September.

The three exhibitions at London Design Festival follow the presentation by ID2015 and DCCoI of the SS16 collections from 11 established Irish fashion designers on the 18th and 19th of September, as part of London Fashion Week (LFW). Unfold at the Institute for Contemporary Arts was an official on-schedule event at LFW in an international commercial showroom environment. It showcased collections by NATALIEBCOLEMAN, We Are Islanders, Emma Manley, Jill de Burca, Helen Steele, Honor Fitzsimons, Chupi, Maria Dorai Raj, Laura Kinsella, Martha Lynn and Capulet & Montague.

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