Designers shape their creations out of nascent ideas in their fertile imaginations. Imaginations that have themselves been configured not just by the sparking of the creative gene but also by the objects, people and place that impinge on their lives and, of course, by a wealth of aesthetic and design history. The designs they conceive shape the lives of the rest of us: good liveable-with design enhances our individual worlds in so many immeasurable ways .
This week is Design Week 2012 (in Ireland) – full details of the week’s programme are here. As part of Design Week 2012 The Malthouse Design Centre on Dublin’s North Circular Road have assembled a delightful exhibition called Living with Design (the exhibition finishes on the 9th of November so it can be viewed this Thursday and Friday between 10am – 5pm). The concept behind Living with Design is deceptively simple: a number of renowned Irish design professionals were invited to choose an object, an item that was not just beautifully designed but one that also holds a personal meaning for them. The simplest ideas are often the very best ones and the ones which yield the most intriguing results and so it is with the Living with Design exhibition.
The objects selected are interesting and charming in themselves but what makes the exhibition truly special (for me at least) is the backstory – each design professional is pictured with his/her chosen object and beside each item is a storyboard on which a narrative is written detailing its special meaning to the person who has chosen it. As we become more connected through the web of cyberspace we also, I believe, paradoxically become distanced from each other and hungry for windows into other people’s lives: I found this sliver of a glimpse into the worlds of those who design for us fascinating.
Among the design professional and their selected objects are: Orla Keily – Danish wooden monkey toy, Paul Costelloe – simple knife, Angela Brady – pink lipstick, Lucy Downes – spatula, Brian Stephens- Eileen Grey table …
All the objects in the exhibition were beautifully designed and it would be impossible to pick a favourite. But when it came to the words there was one sentence that resonated strongly with me – Jane Carroll who chose, as her object, a clock designed in a collaborative process with young school children said “I truly believe that having some good, well-designed pieces in our everyday surroundings, helps us improve our mood! They don’t have to be expensive objects just beautiful, simple forms that are pleasing to the eye.”
Note: Photographer Lois Crighton took the pictures of the designers with their objects my photographs of her photographs do not in any way do her beautiful images justice.