Meet The Design Awards Judges

Championing, celebrating and rewarding excellence in design and interiors by makers, brands and retailers is part of our?DNA, and so, we are'delighted to introduce the 2017?Image Interiors & Living?Design Awards, with judging in partnership with?Design & Crafts Council of Ireland.

Karen Hennessy
Karen Hennessy is the Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) and has been at the forefront of developing this dynamic sector since her appointment in 2011. In 2015, she led the government-backed Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) initiative and currently chairs the National Design Strategy Steering Committee.

CEO_Karen Hennessy_Image by Neil Hurley

Karen Hennessy

What excites you about Irish design?
Ireland is home to a vibrant, creative, artisan-based design and craft sector which has its roots in Irish heritage and tradition but is continually innovating, exploring new materials, approaches and techniques. Talented designers across the country create unique products of value and beauty, which embody quality and skill while celebrating Irish materials, culture and heritage, so I always feel an immense sense of pride when showcasing Irish work internationally.

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My definition of good design is... placing the user at the centre of the design process and combining beauty and intelligent craftsmanship with functionality to produce a product or service that is engaging and adds value.

Why is it important to champion Irish designers and makers?
Developing accessibility to Irish design and craft in domestic and international markets is crucial to the growth of the sector. Collaborating with strategic partners in showcasing and promoting Irish work at home and around the world is central to the DCCoI's activities in ensuring Irish designers and makers achieve the awareness and appreciation they so richly deserves.

What do you hope for the Irish design industry?
Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) highlighted the huge potential of Ireland's design and craft sector to create quality, sustainable jobs with a regional spread across the country. We need to encourage investment in design and design thinking and ensure that the sector secures dedicated and ongoing support in order to capitalise on opportunities for the further development of design in Ireland.

 

John Adams
As the owner of award-winning homeware and design store Article, John Adams has many years experience in the realm of design and craft.?Having started his retail career with David Mellor in London, John subsequently managed Habitat's Irish operations before opening Article in the Powerscourt Townhouse Center in 2010.

John Adams Article

John Adams

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What excites you about Irish design?
That the new designers are appealing to a contemporary market and a?global stage.

My definition of good design is? the use of quality methods and materials in an innovative or fresh way to create pieces that have an enduring use and appeal.

Why is it important to champion Irish designers and makers?
With the long history?of making in Ireland, it's important that these skills are passed on?and?indeed modernised to ensure their place on the international stage is safeguarded.

What do you hope for the Irish design industry?
That we design with a'modern approach and?with a global appeal in mind, while preserving the traditions and methods specific to Ireland.

 

Aoibheann MacNamara
The creative force behind Ard bia at Nimmos restaurant and gallery, Aoibheann MacNamara is also a travel writer and co-founder of slow fashion brand, ?the The Tweed Project.
Aoibheann MacNamara

Aoibheann MacNamara

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What excites you about Irish design?
It is fresh and rooted in the landscape. You can feel it in the landscape, in the weather; it is the tweed, the aran, the wood cutting or basket making, the ceramics - it all has something very earthy and real in it and yet today it has a strong design awareness. This creates a winning formula for international and national success.

My definition of good design is? where the raw material is loved and understood; where the maker has a good sense of design with commitment to the integrity of our own traditions and a strong awareness of international trends and influences.

Why is it important to champion Irish designers and makers?
For rural and urban economic vibrancy and because art and design is the essence of being human. These old traditions are crucial for our heritage and our culture. Their nurturing and development is key to who we are as Irish people.

What do you hope for the Irish design industry?
We are already known internationally as a key player in design and we just need to grow that in a consolidated and supported way. Nurturing young talent and bringing established designers down the road through collaborations, ideas and travel.

 

Alex Milton
A designer, educator, curator and author, Alex Milton was the Programme Director of Irish Design 2015 and is currently a visiting professor at Manchester School of Art, Aston University and the National College of Art and Design, Ireland, where he was previously Head of the Faculty of Design.

Alex Milton portrait - Chris Heaney

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Alex Milton

What excites you about Irish design?
When I think about Irish design I think about the emerging talent that we are seeing coming through, their willingness to move beyond traditional disciplines to create innovative new products, services and environments is inspiring. I also particularly enjoy the innate storytelling ability that Irish design has; the products, spaces, textiles and fashion develop compelling narratives and I think that is something that really helps them write a new chapter in global design discourse. ?

My definition of good design is... meaningful, poetic, innovative, useful, responsive, environmentally friendly and open

Why is it important to champion Irish designers and makers?
Ireland's creativity in areas such as literature, music and art is world-renowned. But in Ireland we also have many great businesses producing creative products and services through design that should receive the same level of media attention and promotion. With the design sector employing one in 40 people in Ireland and generating over a billion euros in exports, there is a clear economic rationale to champion our designers and makers, but just as important is how Irish designers makes Ireland's culture tangible.

What do you hope for the Irish design industry?
That the momentum created by Irish Design 2015 is built upon. Design can play a vital role in creating a better world. Design can enhance our lives, our environment and our society. It shapes everything we see, use and experience and can change how we live, work and play. It can bring communities together and influence how we interact with each other.

 

Amanda Kavanagh
As editor of Image Interiors & Living,?the leading magazine for Irish interiors, Amanda is immersed in curating and celebrating Irish design through print and online, daily.

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What excites you about Irish design??
Ireland has always been home to a wealth of craft talent and in recent years, confidence in Irish design has grown immeasurably. What excites me is the strength of young talent we see consistently, and announcements of ambitious plans by Irish firms at home and overseas.

My definition of good design is... unobtrusive, made with sustainable materials and doesn't bend to throwaway trends.

Why is it important to champion Irish designers and makers?
To protect traditional techniques that are a vital part of who we are, to support young talent and to showcase Irish talent on a world stage.

What do you hope for the Irish design industry?
That the confidence instilled by Irish Design 2015 and the achievements of Irish makers and designers continues to encourage new talent, and also influences those more established to continue creating and innovating.

Vote in the 2017 Image Interiors & Living?Design Awards here.

 

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