Design Week Ireland 2010

Julian Becerra

Director of Digital Strategy

Design Week in Dublin, wow! Well, what can I say? This was my first time actively engaged and participating at various events for Design Week in Dublin, Ireland. I must say I am pleasantly surprised and moved by the talent, drive, and dedication represented throughout.

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Design Week Launch: For starters, the opening show for Design Week set the stage for what was to come. The launch took place at Wood Quay Venue, historically one of the oldest, archeologically significant spots in the city as well as one of the most modern, boundary-pushing design interiors. Needless to say, this has carried through its evolution a great deal of controversy. It is this balance between the old Viking wall and the new Modern structure; the traditional, monotonous way of life and the contemporary, forward thinking conscience; the rugged, dilapidated, historical and absolutely meaningful compared to the solid, clean, angular, and aesthetically beautiful that gave way to this year’s Design Week’s kick-off.

Wayne Hemingway was the guest speaker of the opening night, an important multidisciplinary designer from a working-class background from the United Kingdom. His perspective on design as a completely varied array of disciplines, each with the intention to better the lives of people was mind opening. He also described various opportunistic perspectives throughout his life, humanistic values, and a down-to-earth framework that he stands for. His presentation has deeply inspired and influenced my approach to design and design thinking as a whole.

DEFUSE and the IxDA: The second annual DEFUSE: Design for Use event organised by the Dublin branch of the IxDA took place on the second night at the Sugar Club. A compilation of 12 presentations on Interaction Design big ideas, stuff that makes stuff do stuff, all delivered on the Ignite format to cram as much info into each talk as possible. This event proved to be a huge success with people queuing in the rain up to 30 minutes before the doors opened!

The organisers conceptualised a competition that kept participants intrigued and engaged, not only because they’d receive a ‘free’ cocktail, or because the winner would receive an amazing price, but also it because it went back to design basics: a brainstorming sketch on the back of a beer mat. Clever, eh? The theme of the competition was “How to make Dublin a better place.” The winner’s beer-mat-sketch depicted one of Dublin’s design icons, The Spire, and it read “Dublin’s tourist attraction – A slide on the spire.”

The MC of the event was Des Traynor, an active participant of the local branch of the IxDA. Some of the presenters included Seamus Byrne – What’s the story? Infusing Experiences with the Ancient Craft of Storytelling; Ellen Dudley – Does the internet ever make you feel like sh*t?; John Wood – What business can learn from the German Army about managing design; and Dr. Pete Lunn – Decisions, decisions…and how to frame them; to name a few. Check out some of the snaps I took for the event.

ICAD Annual Exhibition: The ICAD 2010 exhibition of 176 pieces of nominated works from design studios and advertising industry professionals was the icing on the cake. This event took place on the 4th night of Design Week at One Grand Parade by the Grand Canal. Again, top notch! The exhibition depicted the “Best of” nominees and winners from ICAD’s awards back in April.

The work on exhibit included brand identity designs, corporate stationary systems, book designs, brochure designs, multimedia designs, commercial advertisements for both television and print (magazine, billboard, etc). Along with this highly creative, witty, and inspiring work, the ICAD organisers also exhibited the work of their most recent ICAD “Upstarts” portfolios for the first time. It is this design-thinking, artistic expression, determination and drive that makes me believe that there is a strong future for design Ireland.

Being in the presence of so much talent and innovation at this year’s Design Week events, this experience has brought me back to my own portfolio exhibition night at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, California back in 2003. I can’t believe that’s 7 years ago! Where has this decade gone!?

Future of Design in Dublin: At this moment in time, a variety of design organisations are preparing to submit a bid in the hope that Dublin will be selected to become the World Design Capital in 2014. Best of luck on that! Furthermore, the Dublin branch of the IxDA in conjunction with IADT have submitted a bid to host Interaction 12 in Dublin, IxDA’s annual conference. I’m happy to say they’ve been successful with their submission! Many congratulations! Bring on Interaction 12!!!

It is inevitable, the Irish have too much passion, drive, and determination to wait and see what happens next. They want a piece of the action! Slowly but surely doors (and minds) are beginning to open, the paths are beginning to be forged, the tide is beginning to rise and along with it, so are the boats.