Meet the Irish Design Hero Nominees

Irish Design Hero

Voting is live for the inaugural Image Interiors & Living Design Awards. Need a little more information? All the nominees are introduced here, but over the next few days, we’ll be posting interviews with our shortlist. In the sixth part of the series, here’s the Irish Design Hero Nominees…

Meet Joe Hogan
Joe Hogan started making baskets in 1977 – he explains the initial attraction to the art, “I was drawn to it, by the fact that I could grow my own willow. I wanted to be able to live and work in this part of Ireland (Connemara) and basketmaking offered the possibility of realising this.”

Irish Design Hero

Ceremonial basket with horse bones

Joe begins each basket with a piece or, pieces of wood, which become the mouth of the basket and the point at which I begin to weave. “During the making process the basket is viewed upside down with the base being the last part of the basket to be completed. The motivation is to try to deepen my connection to the natural world and to see it with renewed freshness.”

Irish Design Hero

Primal energy (Sylvain Delou)

Joe’s favourite material is the willow he grows, and of the varieties, harrison and packing twine. He is inspired by the scenery of Ireland and the feeling of being part of nature that living in the countryside provides. Joe feels that Irish design is generally respected by those who are aware of it. “I believe that at the present time the standard of workmanship and design in the craft world is very high. It achieves what it sets out to do, is aesthetically pleasing and uses the material well.”

Irish Design Hero

Ebb and flow (Roland Paschoff courtesy of the RDS)

Meet Joseph Walsh
Joseph Walsh began his career as a teenager and remembers the joy that he experienced of being able to turn an idea into a physical object. Self-taught, he grew up in a creative environment: “As a teenager, it did not seem too intimidating to undertake making something, and as soon as I started, I had the desire to improve and go further.” 

Irish Design Hero

Enignum VI Canopy Bed Chatsworth

Joseph explain that he would love to see a greater focus on dialogue around what it is to design for an Irish lifestyle of the 21st century: “What it is to design for island living, for a small and very beautiful country with a rich history and heritage. Do we want to bring global design trends here or do we want to generate design thinking that is unique to us and our needs, to our sense of identity and our vision for the 21st century while thinking about our lifestyles in Ireland?”

Irish Design Hero

Enignum III Chair

The material that Joseph is most familiar with is wood. “I gravitate towards it and I have yet so much to learn about it, I can see myself continuing to do so for quite a long time.  Of course I appreciate so many natural and manmade materials I cannot help myself exploring those also, and that’s a joy, but I love pursuing the perfect piece that is in absolute harmony with the wood it is made from. “

Irish Design Hero

Lillium III

Meet O’Donnell + Tuomey
Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey are are the founders and architects of O’Donnell + Tuomey which they set up in 1988. The pair have have been involved in a multitude of areas of design; urban design, cultural, social, educational buildings, residential and housing projects in Ireland, the Netherlands, the UK and Hungary.

Irish Design Hero

Irish Language Cultural Centre

The  multi-award winning practice is based in Dublin. The duo received the RIAI Gold Medal for Ranelagh Multidenominational School in 2005 and have won the AAI Downes Medal for excellence in architectural design seven times. They also received the 2015 RIBA Royal Gold Medal, which is the world’s most prestigious award in architecture. Speaking at the time, the pair said they were humbled to find themselves in the company of their heroes. “We believe in the social value and the poetic purpose of architecture and the gold medal encourages us to prevail in this most privileged and complicated career.”

New Irish Design

Killiney house

Both are Professors of Architectural Design at University College Dublin and have lectured globally at schools of architecture in Europe, the UK, Japan and the USA, including Harvard, Princeton and Cambridge. They were also elected honorary fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 2010.

Irish Design Hero

LSE Student Centre

To vote for your favourite nominee in each category, click here.

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