With a prize fund of €24,500, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Future Makers Awards and Supports is one of the largest award programmes for students in Europe, Future Makers fund research, training, residencies, materials and exhibitions for up-and coming creatives. It provides a platform for the next generation of makers to learn, experience, create and shape the future of Irish craft and this year’s competition attracted the highest number of applicants to date.
Simon Doyle, Cherry Lamp
In this, our first instalment of the Future Friday series, we speak to the Future Maker of the Year winners. The award comes with a €5,000 support for emerging artists and established practitioners and is based on excellence, creativity and technical ability. Furniture maker Simon Doyle and fashion designer Edel Traynor were jointly awarded the prize.
Edel Traynor Autumn/Winter ’16
How would you describe your style?
SIMON I don’t like to be too dogmatic about how I approach the aesthetics of my work, but I always try to keep things simple, while thinking about how the furniture will interact with people in their everyday lives. I trust that beautiful objects can be made in the process.
EDEL I suppose my own style influences my collections. The pieces are quite functional, practical garments that can be dressed up or down. I dress quite functionally. Working in the studio means I have to be comfortable but also if I need to meet anyone during the day, I need to look relatively smart. I definitely navigate towards darker colours so that everything matches, especially when I don’t have time to think about creating an outfit. I add interest by layering.
Simon Doyle, Shelving. Photo by Cait Fahey
What does winning a Future Makers award mean to you?
SIMON It’s a rare moment when you realise that all the hard work has been worthwhile. The shortlist of designers was so strong in the competition that it feels very reassuring to be acknowledged with an award. It’s also made me excited and hopeful for the future of design in Ireland.
EDEL The DCCoI have created a great initiative for emerging practitioners and it’s a great boost to get so early in my career. I started developing the label in 2015, it’s come at a nice stage to drive it along, and allow me to focus on getting stockists outside of Ireland.
Edel Traynor, Spring/Summer ’16
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
SIMON I’d hope to be doing what I’m doing now, and all going well, have an established studio and a sustainable business, working on a variety of furniture and design projects and collaborations.
EDEL I would hope that I would be still doing what I love. Designing and sustaining a label for 20 years would be the dream.
Simon Doyle, Hall Table. Photo by Stina Sandstöm
What’s your favourite material to work with?
SIMON Lately I have been working a lot with oak, European and Irish oak. It is an ancient material which can grow to be hundreds of years old and is one of the most respected and revered trees. It’s a magical process to work the rough boards into their finished components; seeing the texture, grain, colour and warmth emerge, and how their qualities work with the design. Oak is incredibly strong and durable, and the tannin gives it a nice distinctive smell when working with it.
EDEL My designs are quite minimal with clean lines; cotton and denim are the main materials used in the collections. There are practical reasons: I like the clothes to be easily washed, that way the buyer doesn’t have to be too precious when it comes to taking care of the garment and they can actually wear them.
Edel Traynor Spring/Summer ’16
What is your design ethos?
SIMON I always like the furniture to express the structure and material, to try to tell the story of how the object is made and the inherent properties. It is also important that the relationship to the end user is considered, not just purely from a functional sense but in a way that might enhance the experience in a quieter way, like when someone touches an object without being aware of it.
EDEL When I started designing my first collection I was thinking of what I want to wear and why. There is such an abundance of waste and mindless buying from high street stores, for me, I wanted a solution for everyday wear. There needs to be an alternative to fast fashion but without having to buy designer clothes that are too valuable for everyday wear. The focus is designing minimal, high-quality garments that aren’t just bought on a whim for one occasion.
Simon Doyle, Toro Table in European Oak. Photo by Cait Fahey
Edel’s Autumn/Winter ’16 collection can be viewed on Fridays from 10-1pm in her studio in The Chocolate Factory. Simon is currently working on a picnic furniture project in the Phoenix Park for the Office of Public Works.