How does the car designer decide on what to base the shape of a new model? Or where does the inspiration for a product designer, a furniture designer, an architect, an interior designer come from?  Could it be a thought, a shape, an animal, something in nature? Design is first and foremost led by the… Read more »

Less Is More

In 1973 the Tennessee Conservationist magazine ran a competition for readers. A prize was offered for the best 100 word description of a photograph of an abandoned , dilapidated farmhouse in the middle of a neglected field. A Native American man won with the following: “Picture show white man crazy. Cut down tree. Make big… Read more »

Valuing Exterior Design

Anybody can grab an A4 sheet of paper, draw a rectangle and then further divide that shape up into smaller spaces. That can be the grass, that can be the patio and whatever’s left over here, well, we’ll just call that the planting. A six year old child could do that. Design is so much… Read more »

In Capable Hands on More 4

For gardening fans it’s all been coming up roses recently on More 4. A few weeks ago we were treated to The Autistic Gardeners and now we have Titchmarsh on Capability Brown on Thursday evenings. Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown was born in Northumberland in 1716 and throughout a career spanning fifty years produced a body of… Read more »

Reimagining Your Neighborhood

I contributed the final chapter to this new book on rebooting suburbia and our built environment, ‘Reimagining Your Neighborhood’. It has just been published in the United States, keep an eye out for it.Here’s the amazon link. Read more »

Picnic Time Again

If you really want to dip your toe in zeitgeisty waters you could do worse than get yourself down to Stradbally the first weekend of September every year. There is not a strand of popular and emergent culture worth talking about that doesn’t eke out a forum for itself at the Electric Picnic.   Naturally the… Read more »

Horticulture; Just The Job

It’s that time of year and all the talk is of the CAO, college choices and the points race. It’s a pivotal time in the life of a young person when the already pressurised environment is exacerbated by the inescapable but totally misguided insistence that these choices are final and irrevocable.  To some, of the… Read more »


To some, it’s very important to be on trend. Clothes, social habits, television shows, furniture, interior decor, these are areas wherein lies a fine line between being now and being then. We often happen across this word zeitgeist, things are described as being zeitgeisty. Sounds impressive but what exactly does it mean? Zeitgeist is defined… Read more »

Community Doesn’t Mean Parish

Let’s talk about Balgaddy in West Dublin, specifically The Balgaddy Community Garden. The garden was started by local volunteers on derelict land in October 2010. Since then, residents have worked to develop the approximately one acre space into a hive of horticultural activity which is used regularly by residents as well as a range of… Read more »

Treated Like Dirt; Where’s All The Soil Gone?

Quite rightly there is a lot of talk about finite natural resources, the raw materials that we get from the earth. They are finite because they occur naturally and thus cannot be replicated by man. Instead we have become very proficient in using and modifying natural resources in ways from which we can derive some… Read more »