Items from the Irish Design 2015 showcase: Arran Street East mugs, Slated black cheeseboard, Saturday Workshop wood sculpture, White Filigrana vase and jug and Whackpack Furniture Creepie stool.
If you thought Irish design was all keepsakes and knickknacks, a new showcase coming to the U.S. wants to prove you wrong. Irish Design 2015 (ID2015), arriving at the Javits Center August 16-19, brings the work of 23 artists and craftspeople to the NY NOW showcase. According to Brian McGee, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, who is sponsoring this showcase as part of the Irish Design 2015 initiative, modern work from his country is often overlooked.
"For many years, Irish Design was mostly seen as old antiques or poor quality souvenirs, which were probably made overseas," says McGee. "A new generation of people have developed different perspectives on life and material goods. The government is 100 percent backing a year of Irish design to showcase what's going on now."
McGee feels that the real differentiator for modern Irish design is the "poetry of the material," the way that craftspeople and designers can call upon the country's craft tradition and create pieces that are contemporary and sophisticated. Since Ireland is a smaller country, makers have to start entering the export market earlier in their careers to make the business end of design work, so he feels showcases like this are an important catalyst for young creatives.
"Our objective is developing reputations," he says. "Moving the dial is the main objects. We want the work to speak for itself."