2015 has been a landmark year for Irish design.
Throughout the year, we showcased over 2,000 designers at home and abroad to more than 1.4 million people, through over 600 projects.
We’d like to thank everyone who has been part of Irish Design 2015 and helped it to be the success it has been: the Irish design sector and community for their invaluable support, advice and contributions; all of our incredible partners and sponsors and in particular the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, for their unstinting support of ID2015.
Before the year is out, look back at some pivotal points throughout the year, with our top 15 moments of ID2015:
In the Making
December 2014 saw the official launch of Irish Design 2015 by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, and Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash TD, along with the opening of our first exhibition, In the Making – a touring exhibition organised by the Design Museum, London, and curated by renowned British designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby.
Capturing over twenty objects mid-manufacture, In the Making put the aesthetic of the unfinished centre stage and celebrated the intriguing beauty of the production process. Two Irish pieces were commissioned for In the Making’s stay in Dublin, a traditional Boyne River currach by Meitheal Mara, and the Triathlon Total Knee System, an artificial knee joint, by Stryker.
This was the first time in nine years that an exhibition from London’s Design Museum had come to Ireland, and the first time that In the Making went on tour.
Curated by Angela O'Kelly and specially commissioned as part of ID2015, Fresh Talent – shown first at the National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny and followed by the Design Hub, Dublin Castle, and at Sligo Design Week – shone a light on the creative new wave of designers emerging since 2011 who work within and across disciplines. Including a mix of award winning graduate projects from Ireland’s major universities and from Irish students abroad, Fresh Talent combined with the latest work from a selection of designers and practitioners who are at the early stages of establishing their businesses.
Celebrate Your Local Design Hero
Launched by Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash, TD at Dundalk Library, Celebrate Your Local Design Hero worked with local communities to raise the profile of contemporary Irish design and Ireland’s rich heritage in design and craftsmanship. Libraries around Ireland ran one day events and mini-festivals in celebration of their local design heroes with talks, wor kshops and festivities.
Ibec CEO Conference
Over 300 business leaders and policy makers were in attendance at the annual Ibec CEO Conference which was themed ‘Better Business by Design’ for 2015. With design luminaries speaking such as Tom Kelley, co-founder of the renowned design and innovation consultancy IDEO; Jason Mayden, former Senior Global Design Director of Brand Jordan at Nike and current VP of Design at Marc One; and Phil Gilbert, Vice President, Business Process and Decision Management at IBM the conversations revolved around design and how design thinking can successfully lead to innovation and unlock better business performance.
Design Island at Dublin Airport
A photographic exhibition at on show throughout Dublin Airport celebrating the breadth of Irish creativity, Design Island was launched by Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Paschal Donohoe, TD. A series of 300 photographs by award winning Irish photographer Peter Rowen capturing 24 designers at work in their studios all over Ireland, it presented evocative images of each designer’s location, the raw materials and tools of their trade, the design process and completed product, along with the designer’s portrait.
In July we partnered with Bus Eireann Expressway to collaborate with celebrated Irish designers to create unique bus wraps for Expressway inter-city routes, featuring designs from fashion and accessories designer Orla Kiely, chef Kevin Thornton, street artist Maser, engineers Roughan & O’Donovan, and Oscar-nominated animation studio Brown Bag Films. The concept was developed by Laura Magahy, Executive Chair of ID2015, with to demonstrate the breadth of internationally acclaimed Irish designers in every field.
Liminal in Milan
Presented for the first time at Fuori Salone in Milan, Liminal – Irish design at the threshold, our flagship show, featured over 20 designers, companies and studios involved in collaborations across disciplines. Presenting a pivotal chapter in Irish design, Liminal explored, identifies and showcases Irish creativity, and how designers, companies and studios are moving across the disciplinary boundaries and the limits of what design was, into what design can become. Moving through a series of design venues, starting in Milan, and followed by New York, Eindhoven and finally home to Dublin, the exhibition demonstrated Irish design excellence across disciplines and considers the possibilities for the future.
New Horizon at London Festival of Architecture
In 2015, for the first time, Ireland was designated as the 'country of focus' at the London Festival of Architecture. This month long celebration of architecture presented, discussed and challenged issues within and connected to architecture. It saw the first outing of New Horizon_architecture from Ireland, an evolving presentation of the work of ten emerging Irish architecture practices that went on to be shown in different forms at Chicago Architecure Biennial and the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecure in Shenzhen.
Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund – Design
In July 2015, to coincide with the publication of our Interim Report, the Competitive Start Fund – Design was launched by Enterprise Ireland as part of the ID2015 programme.
Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash TD, announced the new €250,000 fund to support the creation of design-based start-up companies, which will provide up to €50,000 in equity support, aimed at start-ups in manufacturing or internationally traded services that are design-led or use design as a strategic competitive advantage. The Design Fund provides new companies with early stage funding to ensure delivery of their design-based product or service.
The Design Island App
In partnership with IBM, we created an app called Design Island, aimed at helping tourists – as well as Irish people – discover and experience the best of Irish design. We asked a panel of experts from the design community to nominate their top locations around the country to share the best of design in Ireland, including some well-kept secret. Launched by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, search for Design Island on the App Store or Google Play to download it and find your new favourite design destination.
23 of Ireland’s leading designers and craftspeople exhibiting at the NY NOW trade show in New York in August 2015, in celebration of ID2015. NY NOW attracts over 25,000 retail buyers from all over the US each year and represented a valuable opportunity for Irish designers to develop relationships with leading US stores.
Design 4 Growth
Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash TD and an tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh announced the Design 4 Growth pilot scheme in September, to encourage small enterprises to use strategic design to improve their businesses. Part of ID2015, the Design 4 Growth pilot scheme was delivered by Dublin City Local Enterprise Office (LEO) on behalf of the four LEO offices and PIVOT Dublin, Dublin City Council.
Through Design 4 Growth, 50 businesses had the opportunity to attend an introductory workshop aimed at providing an understanding of design strategy in business development. Following the workshop, fifteen of these companies were selected to work with a design advisor on a part funded basis to develop a design strategy specifically tailored to improving their business, with five businesses chosen to implement the design strategy.
As part of London Design Festival (LDF), the V&A Museum this year hosted The Ogham Wall, an ambitious Landmark Project which saw Irish design represented for the first time at the V&A during LDF. Created by Grafton Architects, winners of numerous international awards including the 2008 World Building of the Year Award, and working in conjunction with Graphic Relief, the installation was inspired by the ancient Irish Ogham alphabet. The installation was monumental in scale, consisting of 23 concrete fins stretching to a height of three meters, standing in the atmospheric surroundings of the V&A’s Tapestry Gallery. Each cluster of fins related to a letter in the Ogham alphabet and each letter symbolises a native Irish tree.
Unfold at LFW
On the 18th and 19th of September, ID2015 presented eleven designers in Unfold: Irish Designers Collective at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, as an official on-schedule event as part of London Fashion Week, one of the most high-profile events in the internationalfashion calendar. The 11 designers who unveiled their SS16 collections as part of Unfold at the ICA were: NATALIEBCOLEMAN, We Are Islanders, Manley,
Jill de Burca, Helen Steele, Honor Fitzsimons,Chupi, dorai, Laura Kinsella, Martha Lynn and Capulet & Montague.
Liminal in Dublin
Our evolving flagship exhibition Liminal – Irish design at the threshold, arrived in Dublin in November, after its tour of design weeks in Eindhoven, Milan and New York and was officially opened by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.
Liminal provides a timely platform for creative change on the island of Ireland. As design increasingly seeks to create holistic experiences and narratives, Ireland is placed to play a significant role in 21st century design, helping meet the challenges of tomorrow. Taking the theme of liminality, which refers to spaces that lie between the known and the unknown, this exhibition explored the craft of collaboration and presented the exploratory journeys undertaken by designers.
It can be seen at the National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny, from Spring 2016.
As 2015 draws to a close, take a look at our short film on the impact ID2015 has had this year, and we hope that you continue to explore Irish design into 2016. Find out what's on near you here.