On the Night: Design Week Launch 2015

25 Nov 2015
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The “Design Week Launch 2015” was held in the Hugh Lane Gallery on Thursday 5th November.  Over one hundred and fifty people attended the launch and everyone enjoyed a memorable evening. For those who couldn’t attend, the following is a synopsis of the launch event.

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Barry Sheehan, Head of Design DIT, delivered the welcoming address where he welcomed the launch of “DesignWeek 2015”.

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Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas took to the podium next. He announced that, this year, Design Week 2015 had joined Dóchas to support European Year of Development whose theme is “Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future”. He highlighted the importance that design plays in global development.

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Ali Grehan, City Architect from Dublin City Council announced the Launch of the new edition Pivot Map in association with Design Week 2015. Designed by Conor and David, the map includes bars, cafés and galleries which have a design focus and identifies places of interest in terms of architectural and urban design. Free printed fold out copies of the Pivot Map were available on the night. Grehan then introduced the guest speakers.

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Ann Butler, from Junior Achievement Ireland, presented details on the ‘Power of Design’ pilot workshops which were held in 10 Dublin Primary and Secondary schools this year. The workshops were based around the MakeShapeChange Film and invited young people to think about how the world is made around them and where design fits in.

She explained that the interaction between the students and designers produced many stimulating thoughts and ideas on the children’s perception of design and how it influences them in their everyday lives. She stated that the programme had also inspired many young future designers.

Butler thanked Pivot Dublin and Dublin City Council, and all the volunteers and supporting organisations who were there on the night for creating this unique opportunity for young people and inspiring their curiosity into the world of design.

Butler exclusively announced on the night that due to the unprecedented success of the first pilot scheme that the ‘Power of Design’ workshop will be rolling out nationwide next year.

Butler finished with a quote from one student in St. Paul’s C.B.S Primary School –

“I learned that if you do put in effort you can build anything, you can draw if you believe and you can become a star if you believe, you’ll do anything, you can be a king – I would like to be an Architect’”

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Film director Johnny Kelly, designer Scott Burnett and composer Wilson Brown were the featured speakers on the night. They collectively produced a simple animated film that attempts to show how design impacts on everyday life by using basic shapes. The challenge was to show that design could be universally understood so the film is without language. They each explained their role in producing the film.

Johnny Kelly from London based Studio Mickey explained how the MakeShapeChange school campaign informed the style of the graphics, in which the aim was to create something that was immediately understandable for a young audience.

Kelly explained “…In a lot of ways, all we did was animate the idea that good design is invisible, which is the bit that’s always hardest to communicate to people who aren’t designers.” He added “We didn’t want to highlight supposed ‘good’ or ‘bad’ design – that’s not the aim with this film. Rather we wanted to show how almost everything around us has been designed, and can and will be re-designed.”

Scott Burnett from Dublin based studio AaD, explained the narrative behind the MakeShapeChange film. Burnett outlined that he decided not to try and explain design but to just show its relevance, impact and role in everything we interact with. The narrative shows the everyday life of a family while illustrating some of the changes that happen over time. He explained “The characters are actually affecting the changes themselves in the film; everything changes and shifts to suit their needs.”

Wilson Brown of ANTFOOD, who had flown in especially from New York for the night, explained the importance that the music and sound design had in accompanying and enhancing the overall narrative and motion of the film. This was particularly important since the film had no voice over or text. Brown explained how the sound was composed from strings, winds and brass, along with the studio staples of pianos, guitars, analogue synthesisers and percussion and then topped off with “foley-ed” sound design.

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The presentations were concluded with a showing of the ‘MakeShapeChange’ film which was applauded by the audience at its conclusion. The evening followed with chat and refreshments among the crowd.

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Pivot Dublin offer a special thanks to Mary Harvey, Elaine Harley, Gavin McGinley, Grainne Kelly and staff of the Hugh Lane Gallery for their time and effort in organising the event.