What not to miss at Cork festival of architecture, design and food...

Design POP makes a triumphant return with a festival programme that’s bigger and better than ever, writes KATE RYAN, who is among those featuring in this year’s line-up at the festival of architecture, design and food
What not to miss at Cork festival of architecture, design and food...

Amy McKeogh Festival Director of Design Pop and Alan Macilwraith Senior Architect- JCA Architects pictured with works from Design Pop’s “Milking Stool” exhibition. Picture: Clare Keogh Further Information louise@kearneymelia.com

2020 was a stop-start-stop kind of year for Design POP, Cork’s festival of architecture, design, and food.

But a year on, festival founder Amy McKeogh is back with a festival programme that is its most ambitious yet!

Seven pavilions with 14 collaborators, two exhibitions, and an event schedule that includes 15 different talks, panel discussions and conversations with an impressive line up of contributors from across Cork and beyond, is a clarion call that Cork city is back — bigger and better than ever.

Design POP takes places across three days, from Friday, August 27, to Sunday, August 29.

The seven outdoor pavilions, uniquely designed for the festival, are free to visit during their ‘Activation Times’, 12-6pm on Friday, and 10-6pm Saturday and Sunday.

When the pavilions are active, it means something special is happening inside… They are spaces and installations designed to be explored, to walk into or through, to draw you into these pop-up micro-worlds that use design to extend our idea of architecture and how spaces can speak to us.

Designers such as Mark Horgan, who designs using an algorithm that allows a computer to determine what a design will be, beg us to question if this could be how structures are designed in the future?

While on Sunday, the Architect on the Edge event, with Frank Monahon (AATE), Alan Macilwraith (JCA) and Rae Moore (Atelier Rae), discusses the very real issue of how Covid-19 has impacted how we live in terms of rural and urban architecture.

Each pavilion is a collaboration between a designer and a food business. Collaborations such as acclaimed visual artist Maser with Crawford Gallery Café at Nano Nagle Place, Cook Architects with Ballymaloe Foods in Elizabeth Fort, and Play Nice Studios with Currabinny at Wandesford Quay. See the full listing below.

Amy McKeogh Festival Director of Design Pop and Alan Macilwraith Senior Architect- JCA Architects pictured with works from Design Pop’s “Milking Stool” exhibition. Picture: Clare Keogh
Amy McKeogh Festival Director of Design Pop and Alan Macilwraith Senior Architect- JCA Architects pictured with works from Design Pop’s “Milking Stool” exhibition. Picture: Clare Keogh

In addition to the pavilions and event schedule, this year Design POP will host two exhibitions. The ‘Milking Stool’ exhibition, sponsored by Abbey Woods, will celebrate the creativity of Irish furniture designers by asking them to design and create a modern interpretation of the vernacular milking stool — one of the most traditional pieces of Irish household furniture.

The Bishop Lucey Park Redesign will be an exhibition of the plans for the redesign of this green space in the heart of the city, and the architectural partnership between Cork City Council, RIAI, and the architects who created the winning design: Hall McKnight Architects; as well as a panel discussion on Saturday at the Outdoor Festival HQ on Wandesford Quay.

The programme of events held at Outdoor Festival HQ on Wandesford Quay includes talks, discussions, and conversations across topics as diverse as storytelling through photography and food styling, launching a brand and the creative process behind it, the impact of creativity on our lives, interior design, and many more. Events are ticketed with limited capacity and can be booked via www.designpop.ie.

I asked Design POP founder, and Cork native, Amy McKeogh, how it feels to be back and what she is most looking forward to in this year’s programme.

“It’s really great to have the festival running this year after the challenges of 2020, and I’m really looking forward to all the events as we have a great mix of architects, designers and food/ drink producers speaking,” says Amy.

“If I had to pick my festival highlights, on Friday would be all three talks — a lovely mix of discussions from artists and Fiona Kearney, director of the Lewis Glucksman Gallery.

“On Saturday, I’m looking forward to The Big Idea and Hall McKnight panel discussions, the conversation between Kate Ryan of Flavour.ie and Jenny-Rose Clarke from Toons Bridge Dairy and The Real Olive Company, and the closing conversation between Ardú and Maser.

“On Sunday, my highlights would be the panel discussion about Diversifying, and finally the ‘Behind the Pavilions’ closing talk. 

"This is where I interview all the architects, designers, and producers involved in making the pavilions for this year’s festival. The conversation will be about their creative process and collaboration when creating the designs.”

Design POP is fortunate to be supported by a generous cast, including Cork City Council and LEO Cork City, and wouldn’t be possible without their volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering for Design POP 2021 should email hello@designpop.ie

For full details of this year’s programme, including locations of the pop-up pavilions, exhibitions, and event schedule, visit www.designpop.ie.

What and Where?

The 2021 Design POP pavilions, where they will be, and who are the collaborators:

1. The River Lee Hotel

Mark Horgan X River Club Bar; Mark is a computational designer and studied Architecture and is teaming up with the River Lee Hotel

2. Wandesford Quay

Play Nice studio X Currabinny; Play Nice are a creative studio based in Dublin, and they have teamed up with James Kavanagh and William Murray of Currabinny foods.

3. Elizabeth Fort

Cook Architects X Ballymaloe foods; Architects Dermot Harrington and Paul Carpenter are teaming up with the household name Ballymaloe food

4. Nano Nagle Place

Alan Macilwraith of JCA Architects X Good Day Deli; Alan, a senior architect in JCA, has previously worked with sustainable food lovers Clare and Kristin of Good Day Deli

5. Emmett Place

Maser X Crawford Gallery Café; Internationally recognised visual artist Maser is teaming up with the Crawford Gallery Café to create a pavilion outside the Crawford Gallery

6. Penrose Dock

Wilson Architects X Naturally Nourished; Wilson Architects are the award-winning firm that designed Penrose Dock, which is the location of Naturally Nourished health food café

7. Blackrock Castle

CCAE X Blackrock Castle Observatory; The students and staff of CCAE (Cork Centre for Architectural Education) team up with Blackrock Castle Observatory in Blackrock Castle.

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