In this movie Dezeen produced for Irish Design 2015, Karen Hennessy of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland reflects on the achievements of the initiative, which promoted the work of Irish architects and designers around the world.
"Irish Design 2015 is a government-backed initiative about celebrating and showcasing Irish design in its many forms both nationally and internationally," Hennessy explains in the movie, which Dezeen filmed for Irish Design 2015 in Dublin and Kilkenny, Ireland.
"It is about putting Irish design on the map, and we did it through a range of initiatives from design weeks to architecture biennales to fashion weeks to international trade events."
The initiative showcased over 2,000 designers to over 1.4 million people via more than 600 projects.
A travelling exhibition called Connections toured Irish embassies around the world, presenting work by over 50 designers in a series of capsules that could be packed down into compact flight cases.
The initiative also put on shows promoting Irish design at events including Milan Design Week and London Fashion Week.
The New Horizon programme of installations presented work by 10 emerging Irish architecture firms at the London Festival of Architecture as well as the Chicago and Shenzhen/Hong Kong architecture biennales.
The flagship exhibition, which toured Milan, New York and Eindhoven before ending up in Dublin, was called Liminal – Irish Design at the Threshold. It paired different Irish designers and manufacturers together to create new products especially for the exhibition.
"The exhibition was based on collaborations and collaborative practice," says Louise Allen, head of international programmes for Irish Design 2015.
"What's been incredible about this story is actually seeing the evolution the products but also the relationships between various companies and designers that have participated."
One of the most striking collaborations showcased at the Liminal exhibition was an installation called The Ogham Wall by Grafton Architects and concrete moulding company Graphic Relief, which was also installed at the V&A museum for London Design Festival.
The installation interpreted letters from the ancient Irish Ogham language as a series of three-metre-high cast concrete fins.
Another exhibition during London Design Festival was called Ó. This show, which was put on at the Old Truman Brewery in London before relocating to the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny later in the year, focused on Ireland's craft tradition.
"Ó in the Irish language means 'from'," Hennessy says. "Many of the objects come from very traditional materials – be it glass, ceramics, textiles, or wood – reaching back to that time and place where things from nature were so important to who we are as a nation."
According to a recent report commissioned by Irish Design 2015, Ireland’s design sector accounts for €38bn in exports and employs 48,000 people.
However Alex Milton, programme director of Irish Design 2015, says the focus of the initiative was not purely economic.
"The design sector in Ireland is of huge significance culturally and socially in terms of being able to define what Ireland is and what it can become," he says.
"What design means in an Irish context is a sense of place, a sense of narrative and the ability to communicate with the world."
This movie was filmed by Dezeen for Irish Design 2015 in Dublin and Kilkenny, Ireland. All images are courtesy of Irish Design 2015.