Interior designer and Home of the Year judge, Deirdre Whelan shares her influences, inspirations and favourite haunts.
1. My mum was Dutch and I grew up in the south of Holland. I moved to Ireland when I was 15 and now live in Rathmines. I love it because everything is close by – I can walk or cycle to shops, restaurants, the cinema, the library, town and work. It’s all on our doorstep.
2. When shopping with friends, Drury Street is a must for Industry and the Irish Design Shop. Lunch would be a rib-eye steak with spinach in Sophie’s restaurant followed by an afternoon cocktail in The Marker rooftop bar enjoying the amazing views over Dublin.
Irish Design Shop
3. One of my favourite buildings in Ireland was originally known as the Carroll’s building by RKD Architects, on the canal in Dublin. I like its point of arrival, which is recessed below the main building but up from the street level. The working floors above have a floor-to-ceiling glass elevation overlooking the canal. The proportions feel right and the use of materials is simple and timeless.
The Carrolls Building by RKD Architects [photo, archiseek]
4. My one to watch is Designgoat. They have designed some great shops, restaurants and objects and don’t overwork their designs. They are interested in all aspects of design and are very passionate about what they do.
5. The designers that most inspire me are midcentury modernist architect, Richard Neutra, and Danish furniture designer, Poul Kjærholm. Their designs are timeless and functional with a sheer simplicity.
The PK24 chaise lounge, designed by Poul Kjærholm in 1965 for Fritz Hansen
6. The beautiful thing I wish I had designed myself is the Luceplan Costanza lamp. It’s a classic that works in almost every type of interior – contemporary or traditional. The piece of good design I couldn’t live without is the iPhone. I just use it to make calls and take photos. The only app I use is the weather app. I cycle a lot, so it helps knowing what’s ahead.
Luceplan Costanza Telescopic table lamp, Inreda
7. I have a few favourite projects: the original Residence (member’s club in Dublin), The Gibson Hotel and The Marker Hotel. There was a great working relationship between client and design team, which inspires confidence in what you are doing and therefore producing a great end product. And, of course, creating something that can be visited by the public makes it more challenging. We designers love a good challenge!
The Brasserie at The Marker Hotel
8. My favourite place to escape to is Schull in West Cork. It’s just fab, with fantastic beaches and landscapes. My favourite city has to be New York – it’s such an amazing, vibrant and exciting place. There are obvious places to visit like the Guggenheim, but a real must is the High Line urban park. You get a fantastic view of the city and along the way you can stop off in places like the Standard Hotel for lunch or cocktails.
9. Before we had kids, my favourite holiday destination was Palm Springs, California. It has some great architectural gems and super 1950s motel- style places you can stay in. It’s quite stylish with nice galleries and restaurants, and the fact that it’s located in a desert makes it a very cool place to visit.
10. Now my favourite holiday destination is Deià, Majorca. It’s a gorgeous little village with a range of restaurants, little boutique shops and great beaches nearby. Despite the fact that in the height of summer it’s full of foreign visitors, it has maintained its Spanish charm.