Kilkenny Design Workshops were founded in Kilkenny city, Ireland in 1963. Established as a semi-state agency, the aim was to improve the design of Irish products. It was a time when Ireland was beginning to industrialise in a large way. The economy was beginning to expand, foreign direct investment was being encouraged and earnings from exports were increasing.
The Irish Export Board (An Córas Tráchtála) was tasked with promoting Irish goods abroad. The Chief Executive of the Board, William H Walsh, recognised the importance of design in industry in order to encourage commerce, trade and export. Scandinavian designers were commissioned to carry out an audit of the standards of design in Ireland. Their report was officially called ‘Design in Ireland’ but was generally known as the Scandinavian Report. The report was used as a basis for the establishment of Kilkenny Design Workshops.
Employing designers from across Europe William Walsh established the Design Workshops in the converted stables at Kilkenny Castle. Five workshops in the areas of textile weaving, textile printing, silver and metalwork, ceramics, and woodworking were established. As time went on industrial design was incorporated into the work of Kilkenny Design. Kilkenny became a centre for design excellence and the name Kilkenny became synonymous with excellent design.
The team of international designers undertook design projects for both indigenous industry and as time went on for international companies which had been established in Ireland. Retail operations were developed in Ireland, London and North America. Kilkenny Design Workshop operated at its base in Kilkenny city until its closure in 1988. Today the Castle Yard is home to the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and a number of thriving craft and design businesses.
Kilkenny Design Workshops were officially opened in Kilkenny city, Ireland in the year 1965 On This Day.
Kilkenny Design Centre by Kieran Lynam on 2008-01-15 17:17:13
Kilkenny design by Bernie Goldbach on 2005-03-02 13:50:33