In April 2013, Pivot Dublin invited us to spend two weeks in the Irish capital. We hopped from district to district to fully experience, explore and report trends, stories and ideas right from Dublin’s vibrant design community.
The City of Dublin has launched plans for a new central City Library at Parnell Square. This new 21st century cultural hotspot will help launch the northern part of Dublin’s downtown as a new cultural quarter. In times of financial crisis it's hard to find money for new public buildings, particularly in the cultural scene and in a city like Dublin. What’s interesting about this project, initiated by Dublin's City Architect Ali Grehan, is that it is financially made possible by a group of philanthropists. They will pay to make the plans and have committed to raise funding for the execution of the whole project. Peter Collins is Managing Director at Kennedy Wilson Europe. He represents the group of philanthropists that will pay for the massive building. We spoke to him about the library and asked him about philanthropy in urbanism.
During our two-week Blogger in Residency in Dublin earlier this month we discovered quite an innovative approach to urban planning and development that other cities around the globe could learn from. Several departments within the Irish capital's City Council have adopted urban hacking and interventionism tactics as serious tools to improve public spaces.
On top of the roof of the Chocolate Factory in Dublin, a remarkable rooftop farm is being planted. Following the example of other great urban rooftop farms around the world, the Chocolate Factory farm is completely modular, made from only recycled materials, and is based on the concept of composting. This way, the small scale farm that looks out over the city of Dublin integrates an entire food system, from waste to food, on one roof.
Artisan crafts are making a revolutionary global comeback that goes beyond the coolness of bearded hipsters in Brooklyn. In the new economy more and more people demand authentic, locally produced, sustainable items that represent real value. Ireland has a unique history of craftsmanship, which could form a great basis for Dublin's contemporary identity.
Makers & Brothers is an online store dedicated to locally crafted Irish products, founded by Jonathan and Mark Legge. A week ago the brothers opened a temporary pop-up shop on the top floor of the Brown Thomas department store in Dublin. Between the usual products that are available at a huge inner-urban department store, a small shed built of wood and corrugated iron has popped up in order to bring beautiful locally produced design items to a new group of customers. We spoke with Jonathan Legge about design culture in Ireland, his passion for local crafts and the way he thinks the artisan economy contributes to Dublin's and Ireland's identity.
Mabos is the name of a warehouse in Dublin's docklands area, that has been turned into a very special location for all kinds of urban niche activities. We spoke with initiator Dave Smith about his idea behind this multi-functional maker space, which hosts a wide variety of events ranging from women-only skateboarding events to robotic workshops, do-it-yourself furniture making classes and late-night BYOB parties.
Hey urban composters, this one is for you! During our stay here in Dublin we had the chance to chat with the guys of ABGC, a design and architecture firm that has its office in the city's South Studios. They showed us some of recent projects, including a little wormery called WormWorks. This urban balcony composter drew our immediate attention as it perfectly combines the recycling philosophy with a-do-it-yourself mentality plus great design on top of that.
On Tuesday afternoon we visited South Studios, one of Dublin's creativity hubs. During lunch around the corner at the wonderful Fumbally we ran into Samuel Bishop, designer and co-founder of Street Feast, a day of local lunches in public spaces all around Ireland on June 23rd, hosted by the people.
'This Stool Rocks' by Irish-born, London-based designer and Fabsie founder James McBennett is not only an exploration of innovative tools for designing and making furniture — it proposes a revolutionary re-invention of the production chain.
Right now that everyone in the international design blogosphere is talking Milan we're talking Dublin. Last weekend we visited Dublin's creative festival OFFSET 2013. OFFSET took place between 5 and 7 April, and we were lucky to get invited and mingle with the design community. We just spent our first days here in Dublin as Bloggers in Residence and the OFFSET Festival gave us a good opportunity to find out if something like ‘Dublin Design’ exists. Does this city has its own style expressed by the variety of work made by the local creative community?