Thomas Heatherwick will open this year’s Irish Design Week in Dublin on 2 November.
After saying last year that he would ‘do anything to get [Heatherwick] over’, Barry Sheehan, immediate past president of the Institute of Designers of Ireland, one of the IDW’s key organisers, says he can ‘rest happy now’.
The festival will also host the three-day Offset 2009 conference, taking place in Dublin from 6-8 October. Speakers at Offset will include graphic designers Leila and Massimo Vignelli, artist David Shrigley, and Harry Pearce of Pentagram.
IDW operates as an umbrella brand, and relies on organisations around Ireland volunteering to stage events during the week. Sheehan says that because of this set-up, the recession has affected IDW in two ways.
He says, ‘Some people who had been very interested in contributing in the past are now too busy firefighting, while some who had been too busy to take part in the past now have the time to contribute.’
Sheehan adds, ‘The recession also means there is a lot more honesty around – people are talking more to each other about how the design industry works, rather than just puffing themselves up.’
A key aim of the organisers of this year’s festival was to create a spread of events throughout the island of Ireland, rather than just concentrating everything on Dublin. To this end, there will be workshops and exhibitions in Waterford, Louth, Tullamore, Kilkenny, Cork, and north of the border in Belfast.
Sheehan says he hopes IDW, run in association with Bombay Sapphire, will grow to appeal more to clients and a broader audience, as well as designer professionals. He adds, ‘Next year I would like to have an IDW that is meaningful for younger people.’
The identity for this year’s IDW was created by Richard Seabrooke. Last year the festival was opened by Tom Dixon, and in 2007 by Karim Rashid.