Interior Design and Art Fair 2010
RDS: Important Irish Art Fair May 24-26 2014 and the Furniture and Interiors Fair Oct 5-7
As a flavor of what's to be seen at these upcoming events, a previous year's exhibition of art, craft and design had these brands and artisans: Two of the first that leaped to attention were Arnotts for its showcasing of Natuzzi and Ligne Roset furniture and Glasshammer’s stand for the latest work from Michelle O’Donnell. For an echo of the excitement looking at the actual glass gives you, have a look at www.glasshammer.ie, then imagine that it's one of the first things you see when you come home. The vivid colours and curvy shapes make for instant happiness.
Whoever positioned those two brands beside the entrance knows a thing or two about unadulterated joy. They nicely sum up the spirit of the exhibition, which is to give house builders and homemakers a practical example of how priceless is good design.
The entire exhibition successfully married classical, conservative interior furnishings with forward-looking art and craft.
The exhibitors ranged from Fine Art retailers, furniture showrooms, traditional artists such as painters and sculptors, traditional artisans such as cabinet-makers, woodworkers, glass-blowers, textile designers, and creative engineers (architects please excuse me for lumping you in here) such as building and lighting designers.
Some of the best known contemporary furniture and home accessories shops from around the country were represented: Irish outfits No Fixed Abode, Minima, Lomi and Lost Weekend as well as the bigger retailers like Arnotts department store. Other lifestyle shops that double as the retail outlet for artisans showed lovely aspirational new ranges too. If a table can be described as ‘touchy feely’ then the ‘secret’ table in solid walnut by either O’Hagan Design or Duff-Tisdall is exactly that. It had an attractive grain and stain, curvy lines and very useful secret compartments that worked for office accessories and had holes on the underside for computer or lighting wiring. It was good looking enough to be attractive as part of a home office, whether your precious ‘business’ corner of the house is in the kitchen or living room.
There was a matching round table and chairs, should you have a large open plan home. Both were fabulously expensive, but so worth it. I’d be more specific about whether the range is the brainchild of O’Hagan or Duff-Tisdall if either of the brands had pictures of it uploaded onto their respective websites.
Other ‘touchy feely’ furniture that was joy to encounter came in the shape of the Twisty Boxes by Ben Gabriel. Solid oak room dividers (for that grand open plan living arrangement) or simple storage that fits against a more usually-sized sitting cum dining room, the Twisty Boxes were separate boxes cut asymmetrically on the inner edge that had printed doors and sat on a plinth. They looked as if they could be arranged horizontally too if that suits your space or storage needs more personally.
Not quite so tactile was the skeletal, sculptural wood and glass console table by Martin Gallagher, but it was certainly striking in terms of craftsmanship and design. If anyone in your house is susceptible to hallucinogenic drugs it could provide a talking point for years to come. Even if you’ve sensibly said ‘no’ to drugs, the shadows cast by its shape alone could be as effective as a burglar deterent.
Another designer making unusual and quirky ‘talking point’ home accessories and furniture is Tim Sillery, whose coat hangers in the shape of a head and shoulders that are fixed to a wall are reminiscent of high end Scandinavian design. Other pieces included on the stand were his fused glass table and cushions, both of which were fab, fun and functional.
Zelouf and Bell’s take on contemporary furniture was also top drawer, with functionally comfortable but aesthetically modern cabinetry and dining room furniture shown at the fair.
The ‘touchy feely’ stuff wasn’t limited to contemporary or forward-looking design. Norma Rogers Antiques had a beautifully limed, antique pine dresser that would be appropriate in a classically conservative décor, whether surrounded by other plain, rustic pieces in a Shaker-style kitchen or bedroom or nestling comfortably in a glamorous, predominantly feminine room.
It probably goes without saying that the textiles were ‘touchy feely’ to a thread. But I’ll say it anyway. The textiles were begging to be touched. Rugs, wall-hangings and upholstery fabrics ranged from what looked like starched Airtex squares in muted colours artfully displayed about three inches from a wall to Sandersons commercial upholstery fabrics. The shadow-throwing wall art is a plainer, pared down phase of textile artist Liz Nilsson’s evolution, whose previous work includes screen-printed wall panels, roseate frills and a dramatic, monochromatic ‘fluff’ series.
Two contemporary Irish rugmaking companies had pride of place here. Rugart and Ceadogán have equally beautiful products, both have a selection of thick, soft, vividly coloured area rugs that couldn’t fail to please fans of contemporary art. Ceadogán has also commissioned a number of popular Irish artists to design its new range and is blessed with an attractive workshop in Wellington Bridge, Co Wexford that’s worth a special trip should you be touring the sunny southeast.
Kitchen and bedroom cabinet makers ranged from the ultra modern, sleekly urbane kitchen makers (like Kube) to reclaimed, eco-friendly country classics (like Delvin Farm and the Victorian Salvage Company).
A host of Fine Art galleries from around the island also exhibited at the Interior Design and Art Fair, which will feature in later hubs, but the one in the main hall Gormley Fine Art of Dublin, Antrim and Tyrone got my first vote on a couple of counts.
Firstly, they had the good sense to be in the main hall and secondly, their selection of artists included painters and sculptors who are endlessly engaging. Ian Pollock, Paddy Campbell, Knuttel, Sean Cotter and Jonathan Aiken stood out for me. But if I’d the cash there and then I would have spent it on either of two Lorcan Vallely’s paintings.