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Interview with Daragh Enright

Home > Designer Interviews > Daragh Enright

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Daragh Enright (DE) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Daragh Enright by clicking here.

Interview with Daragh Enright at Wednesday 15th of June 2022
Daragh Enright
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
DE: As a child, from the age of around seven, I had decided I wanted to be an architect as I loved drawing, particularly buildings. At secondary school I started wood work classes at the age of 14, and consistently came out top of the class. My wood work teacher kindly allowed me to use the workshop during my free classes and I started making and selling skateboard ramps. Later I began making didgeridoos which I again turned into a small business. My love of design, craft, and wood as a material, blossomed when I started summer work with a then highly respected furniture designer and maker on the south west coast of Ireland. My mind was made up, and I continued on the path of furniture design and making, taking up an apprenticeship in Vermont (USA) with Charles Shackleton Handmade Furniture and Pottery, completing a City and Guilds qualification in Furniture design and making, and finally finishing my education with a degree in 3 Dimensional Design at Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
DE: I run a small workshop in South Bohemia (Czechia) at present with one full time assistant. Czechia has a diverse and plentiful supply of local hardwoods, much more so than my native Ireland so it is the perfect place to run my business from.

FS: What is "design" for you?
DE: Design is the enhancement of the human experience.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
DE: Works aimed to enhance the experiences interior spaces we live and work in, namely furniture and lighting.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
DE: The generic five wheeled, spinning, height adjustable, and reclining office chair with arms. A monumental leap in the design of seating which revolutionised the office work experience.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
DE: A suite of office and clinic MDF lacquered furniture for Dr. Gibb at 'The Birth Company' in Harley Street London.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
DE: Hardwoods, MDF, glass, steel, and 3D printing using the plant based plastic PLA.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
DE: Always after my morning coffee.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
DE: The user experience, focusing on the touch and feel to the hand.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
DE: The creative process is up and down for me at the beginning. But once I know I'm on the right path, I feel excitement, and joy.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
DE: Pride.

FS: What makes a design successful?
DE: Simply its ability to enhance the human experience.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
DE: The ability of the design to fulfil the users needs, aesthetically and or practically, efficiently, for the highest number of people. The best design combines both, without waste.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
DE: To hold the highest value of enhancing the human experience, in every aspect. Being innovative, thinking outside of the box, surprising us, uplifting us, while having the lowest impact on the environment, carefully considering material choices and production.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
DE: A long time ago! My degree show was in Islington, London in 2000, where exhibited my 'Core' seating design. I am planning to join the 'Maker Faire' in September this year in my home city of Ceske Budejovice, Czechia.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
DE: Nature is the ultimate designer for me, and I take great inspiration from its organic forms. A walk in the forest, canoeing down a river, or hiking in the mountains boosts my creative energy. Observing how we interact with the built world, and noticing gaps or inadequacies in our experiences in that world, provides my inspiration.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
DE: Relaxed Modern. Natural forms and materials focusing on hardwoods in combination and contrasting with modern materials and finishes. I love to showcase the beauty of wood, by carefully selecting it according to the patterns of the grain. I wish to create timeless designs which are created with such perfection and attention to detail that my pieces will out last me and many generations to come. I design and make to counter the throw away culture. Good design and manufacture for me is a marriage of infinite joy for the user.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
DE: I live in Czechia, where people take great pride in their interior spaces, and where standards of building are high, and quality workmanship is highly valued. Modern architecture and design are readily accepted here, the people are not bound by the constraints of tradition. Due to communism the Czechs came much later to the west's throw away culture, so they still have more appreciation for quality, long lasting products.

FS: How do you work with companies?
DE: I run my own company that sells directly to the end use customer so don't deal directly with other companies other than suppliers of materials and parts.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
DE: Ask him or her to sketch their best design. Show the person other designer's work and ask them to evaluate. Present a simple design brief and see what they produce and ask for a presentation of their ideas.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
DE: It starts with an idea, then sketches. After that 3D modeling with design software. I then print the prototype models to experiment with. materials are chosen and sourced, and finally in to the workshop to develop and make the final product.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
DE: My lava lamp, that idea was pure genius. My reclining, spinning, office chair with wheels, its the piece of furniture I use and appreciate the most. My workshop bench, with all its compartments, its usefulness, weight and stability. My kitchen dining table, where some of the best family times are had, and finally my extra large bed, of course!

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
DE: Wake up at 7, get the kids ready and off to school, start work in my office with admin duties and design work for three or so hours, and then by 1pm, after lunch, spend the rest of the day in my workshop producing my designs. Finish work at 5 pm, make dinner and play/hang out with my kids.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
DE: Learn to create with CAD software. Its such a valuable skill, and the possibilities are endless. Don't limit you designs by basing them on a certain material. Design freely, and decide on the best materials to use once you have the form, not before. Think 'outside the box', and purge your mind of preconceptions.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
DE: I cannot think of any higher joy than seeing an idea become a thing! The only negative for me is finding the time and funding to develop new ideas.. this can be difficult with three children to care and provide for.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
DE: Imagination and progress.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
DE: The ability to observe and identify opportunities to make our environment more functional and beautiful. Noticing things others do not see, and imagining outside of our preconceptions of how things 'should' be and look.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
DE: First and foremost I use a pencil and paper. I then import my sketches into my CAD software, Autodesk Fusion 360, to develop 3D models for initial prototyping.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
DE: I make sure that I am in the correct mood/state before I attempt to design. Then it flows freely and quickly. The rest of my time I spend in my workshop producing my work.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
DE: Ideas can come to me in minutes, however the process of bring these ideas into their final 3D form, with all the choices and development involved, can take years. I have one dining table design for example, of which the idea came to me in 2005, that I won't have finally realized in its final form till next year. The Magic Lamp took me two years to move from the idea, to the final product.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
DE: When I was 21 years old, working for Charles Shakelton Furniture, in Bridgewater, Vermont. I had a wonderful experience there, learning the craft of high quality handmade furniture making.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
DE: Previous to the Magic Lamp, my clients were mainly local, requiring furniture for residential and commercial settings. Whit the magic Lamp, being much smaller and easier to ship, I have had customers from all over the world.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
DE: I always prefered designing for commercial settings, hotel, cafe, restaurants, and shops. Here my clients would be much more inclined to new ideas and quite simply their budgets would be higher, allowing for more possibilities, and higher quality materials. Not to mention it is always a boost to have one's work on public display.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
DE: I am moving to a much larger workshop, where I will have space to peruse my larger projects, such as a dining table design, and for space to install CAD/CAM machinery.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
DE: I develop all my designs myself, and have one assistant in my workshop.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
DE: Yes, I have an innovative dining table design, which I hope to enter in next year's A Design Awards competition.

FS: How can people contact you?
DE: By email is best at daragh@daraghdesigns.com.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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