A photographic exhibition at Dublin Airport celebrates the breadth of Irish creativity through a series of portraits by award-winning Irish photographer Peter Rowen.
Commissioned by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCol), Rowen manages to capture the essence of creativity across the length and breadth of the country with his portrayal of 24 designers at work all over Ireland. Shot over a period of a few months, he specifically chose to photograph the individuals in their own studios, as he comments, 'I always feel that shooting someone in their own space makes for a much more interesting story. I feel you get a much better sense of who the person is by their surroundings.'
Design Island features over 300 photographs presenting evocative images of the locations, raw materials and tools of the trade, detailing up-close the craftsmanship of millinery, weaving and blacksmithing, amongst other professions. The exhibition also covers the specific design processes that result in the completed products, featuring portraits and profiles of all the featured creatives, which include internationally-renowned and award-winning Irish designers across a broad range of disciplines, such as furniture designer Joseph Walsh, architects O'Donnell + Tuomey, fashion designer Helen Steele and product design studio Notion.
Industrial designer Ian Walton of Notion comments, 'We were absolutely delighted to be invited to be a part of this exhibition. What I specifically like about DCCol's curation is its breadth – I hope that by including disciplines ranging from architecture to millinery, it will help to broaden the viewer's understanding of what design is, both in Ireland and internationally.' He goes on, 'Pete's approach to this shoot was a great antidote. His method was to document rather than to stage, and I guess designers are most comfortable with their heads in their work so this technique was ideal. I think there is a relaxed and optimistic atmosphere that comes through in the entire collection – a direct result of Pete's involvement.'
The exhibition is a true celebration of Irish creativity and a precursor to the upcoming Irish Design 2015 events, a year-long initiative to showcase Irish design and craft around the world. As Rowen sums up, 'I really enjoyed shooting this project. It really opened up my eyes to the talent and creativeness that's out there. The level and quality of the work that's being produced in Ireland by Irish craftspeople is seriously amazing.'
The Design Island exhibition, in association with daa, was opened in November and can be viewed in Terminals 1 and 2 of Dublin Airport until the end of 2015.
Photos Peter Rowen.