One of the nice things about London Design Festival, and one of its most painful (if you favour form over function footwear, as I do), is the event’s sheer spread – you always stumble across something you didn’t expect to; A Place to Gather – a showcase or Irish design, presented by The Crafts Council of Ireland – was one of those.
A pleasantly beat-up little space, just off Redchurch St, saw curator Jonathan Legge bring together an eclectic selection of products and designs that showcased the whimsy and wonder of Irish design – deeply rooted in the country’s material culture, and steeped in the sort of wind-blown visual poetry you’d expect. Sure, there were few conventions being broken here, and Ireland’s craft community may have been living up to stereotype, but – much like the accompanying short film by filmmakers Jamie and Keith that served as a visual backdrop – there was no doubting the comforting beauty of it all.
Stepping out from the shawl-wearing charm of it all were Finn Magee with his brilliantly clever Flat Light – a print with embedded LEDs, forming part of a collection that also includes an equally clever speaker print – and Dublin studio Superfolk, with their rope-tied stools.
All in all, the showcase served as a pleasant distraction from the schedule, and a welcome reminder of the considerable talents that our small neighbour has to offer.