The Kilkenny Design Workshops (KDW) in Ireland have just released a new iPad app that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the official opening of the KDW (it closed in 1988).
“The innovative Kilkenny Design Workshops were a government policy design initiative, established in 1963 and officially opened in 1965 under the remit of the Irish Export Board to advance the standard of design in Ireland,” says Catherine Phibbs of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. “A revolutionary concept involving a bohemian mix; international designers were headhunted to lead multidisciplinary workshops in Kilkenny and share their expertise with local apprentices and young Irish designers. KDW is credited with helping spark Ireland’s design economy and awakening contemporary Irish design.”
KDW was the first of its kind in terms of a government-sponsored center of excellence for research design and development, and for recognizing the importance of design for economic success. William H.Walsh, the visionary KDW founder, was also the CEO of the Irish Export Board and was key to the success of KDW. There are some fascinating stories associated with KDW and the people who worked there and what they achieved for design in Ireland.
KDW’s organizational model was later replicated internationally and KDW staff worked their way around the world, from Barbados to the Philippines, sharing KDW’s design approach and ethos. KDW’s products were renowned for their design, aesthetics and craftsmanship, and their advances in industrial design, retail, exhibitions and promotions meant the name ‘Kilkenny’ became synonymous worldwide with good design.
The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, with support from the Heritage Council, launched the new Kilkenny Design Workshops app. (The app was designed and developed by John Cleere of Red Lemonade Creative.) A new format showcases the historical significance and influence of KDW. The app was designed and developed this year in the same studios where some of KDW’s legendary graphic designers once worked.
The KDW iPad app is now available for free as a download from the Apple App Store.
2015 celebrates a year of Irish design, a government-sponsored design initiative to showcase the best of Irish design nationally and internationally and drive job creation and grow exports.
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