How important is innovation in the design work that you do?
One should always be observing, asking questions, listening, testing and making. This is where innovation will come from. Absorb your surroundings, take the details on board and then advance.
The advancement does not necessarily need to be physical, it can be intellectual, emotional or all of the above. Yes innovation is important but don’t be foolish enough to believe it is always physical and that it happens at a desk.
How important is creative freedom to you?
It is important but I am not an artist so the freedom will always be constrained by the realities of human needs. Restraint is why design is design.
Do you place a value on playfulness in your designs?
Definitely, play is a key ingredient in the process, it is super important. As the American designer Charles Eames use to say, ’take your pleasure seriously’. It should not be ignored or underrated as it feeds the thinking and brings a smile.
What is your view on the importance of technology in design?
It has always been there as it fits in with the notion of play – it is part of the process if you are (and you should be) taking a holistic approach to design - also it informs the restraints.
Do you recognise ‘identification with place’ as being a factor for Irish design being successful in an international dimension?
Place is always important and now more so than ever before. The world is getting smaller and smaller and in many unfortunate instances a sense of place is being lost to dull homogeny. Ireland needs to recognise what it has, protect it and share it in a relevant way with the rest of the world. Place is too important too loose, it is what distinguishes our tweed and linen, which were once distinguished historically, however so many small industries have now been lost.
Jonathan Legge of Makers & Brothers was part of the international selection panel who assessed the Future Maker Awards & Supports 2012. Jonathan also recently curated the successful ‘A Place To Gather’ at London Design Week on behalf of the Crafts Council of Ireland.