Design Matters


December 16 2014

Ask anyone, with no interest or engagement in the arts, to name a famous twentieth century Irish writer, playwright or poet and chances are they will be able to do so. After all, who hasn’t heard of Joyce, Beckett and Heaney? They could probably even name a painter as names like Jack B. Yeats, Paul Henry and Sean Keating are also pretty familiar to most people.

But ask them to name a famous twentieth century Irish designer or architect and the game gets a little harder. So why are the people responsible for this work not recognised in the same way? We live our lives through and with design and throughout the twentieth century, it has existed as a major feature of cultural and everyday life. Thankfully things have changed and today, contemporary designers are receiving their due recognition. However, for anyone interested in the life and work of one of the most influential designers of the twentieth century, not just in Ireland, but internationally, Jennifer Goff’s new book, Eileen Gray, Her Work and Her World is a must. Beautifully written and illustrated, this book is not just for Christmas, it is for life. To whet your appetite, there’s also a documentary Gray Matters, on RTE1 tonight.


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Frances McDonald