Nordic Embassies in Dublin launched a series of Nordic design events on 26th October in Dún Laoghaire, South of Dublin. The event was made possible by the excellent co-operation of the Nordic Embassies in Dublin as well as financial support from the Nordic Cultural Fund. The opening event was a full day seminar called "Designing Sustainability and Sustaining Design" which focused on sustainable design. Finnish speaker was a well known designer and architect Ilkka Suppanen.
The seminar was followed by the opening of the Nordic Now exhibition. There are pieces from eight emerging Nordic designers in the exhibition: from Finland Leena Kouhia's ceramics and textiles to Saana ja Olli. The theme of the exhibition is also sustainability and will be on display until 17.11.
The opening addresses of the seminar were held by the Danish Ambassador to Ireland Carsten Søndergaard and An Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire Rathown County Council, Cormac Devlin. They spoke about the uniqueness of Nordic design and the possibilities for co-operation between Ireland and the Nordic region in design industry. In his keynote speech the Minister of State for Employment and Small Businesses Pat Breen highlighted Ireland's interest towards Nordic Design and the government's will to deepen Irish-Nordic co-operation in the field of design.
Knut Bang from the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture talked about Norwegian design history and its connection to present day. The ability of design to solve problems was one of Bang's main themes. Elizabeth Hatz from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden spoke about the sustainability of design and architecture in the world that is so much focused on consumption. Troels Degn Johansson from the Danish Design School emphasized the Danish design expertise that is among many things well-known for city architecture.
Finnish designer Ilkka Suppanen made the audience burst into laughter many times during his presentation which reflected his versatile career. Mr Suppanen's work ranges from designing furniture and watches to helping to solve the waste problem in a South American city, always keeping sustainability in mind. According to Suppanen, we should focus on what we could achieve with design instead of focusing solely on solving problems. "Design can offer a vision for better future", he concluded his speech.
Irish colour was brought to the seminar by design duo Superfolk. Gearoid Muldowney and Jo Anne Butler discussed Nordic design from the Irish point of view. Their own work has been hugely influenced by Nordic countries due to studies and travels.
The day was concluded by a panel discussion and closing remarks by Karen Hennessy from the Irish Design & Crafts Council. Both of them brought up the interest to deepen the co-operation between Ireland and the Nordic countries in the field of design. Nordic design has a long tradition as a trend in Ireland which makes a great starting point.
Nordic Now exhibition that was opened at the end of seminar day will be on display until 17.11. Each Nordic Embassy have organised an evening event with designers from their respective countries telling about their work. Finnish design award winning couple Saana and Olli shared their experiences in the event that was held on November 3rd with nearly 70 listeners. The designers talked about their work and the challenges they have faced in an open and inspirational way. The event was followed by a networking reception.
Kaisa Leidy, Deputy Head of Mission, and Elina Honkanen, intern. Photos by Kaisa Leidy