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International News

Laura Carey, promising Irish artist!

We came across the work of Laura Carey on Australia’s established art & design magazine Frankie’s website. We we’re then linked onto a her blogsite and shop where we found some great work inspired by suburbia. Laura Carey’s work has been heavily based around her personal relationship to suburban life, having been intrigued by the mass of suburban landscape that surrounded her in Dublin. Her work looked at our evaluation of the landscape in which we live, the known sphere around us in which we discover our place in the world and our own relationship to it. Laura is currently based in Sydney, a thriving culture of art and design, where she is finding new inspiration for her current work.

Great work Laura, we look forward to seeing more!


To iPad or not to iPad…

So the debate rolls on, where do you stand? We found this article in the Guardian both interesting and amusing 🙂

“Apple pretends it will make your life more efficient. Come off it. It’s an oblong box that lights up”



100% Design & TENT London have been conquered!

Earls Court EntranceWith tired feet, excited minds and packs full of business cards and brochures, we traipsed away from this years 100% Design. But we had huge smiles on our faces as we stepped back out into the blistering sunshine that September afternoon, as we felt fulfilled by what we had encountered. Broken into 3 sections, this years exhibition covered 100% Design, 100% Materials & Details and 100% Futures. We were most impressed by the representation of countries such as Norway and Poland who had showcased their countries talented designers, and we were also intrigued by some work presented by recent English graduates, who’s ideas were less commercial but highly innovative. The GrayConcrete stand was impressive in its simplicity, and we are going to look for ways to include this material into our future designs (www.grayconcrete.co.uk) and we enjoyed the craftsmanship and retro stylings of &Then Design (www.andthendesign.co.uk)

TENT London Entrance

On we ventured to the Truman Brewery of the now hip Brick Lane in North East London, to TENT London. A younger brother of 100% Design, this exhibition combined innovative furniture and digital presentations. We found this part of the festival particularly enjoyable, not only due to its fine location, but due to the number of unique and well crafted products within. Much more focused on up and coming talent and ideas, we took away details of Zoe Murphy’s bespoke printed furniture (zoemurphy.com)  and of an ingenious new gadget called Wattson that will help us all focus on the amount of electricity we are using around our homes (http://www.diykyoto.com/uk).

Though the exhibition had been described as smaller this year, we felt the quality of products on display were high. So many studios around London were also part of the design trail, really enhancing the feel that the entire city was involved in the festival this year. We look forward to getting our teeth into some of the new products and to visiting again next year…and hopefully to be greeted by the same wonderful weather!


IKEA furniture is not the only star of their show!

We know that the IKEA furniture experience divides opinion not only in Ireland but around the world, with designers embarking on philosophical arguments over the merits and downfalls of the flat pack giant. We were however interested to read an amusing review of the IKEA restaurant in the newly opened Dublin store, by renowned Irish food critic Tom Doorley. Have a read below, and we hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Ikea Restaurant Dublin

Flat-pack food that’s surprisingly good
AS EXERCISES IN lunacy go, it went quite well. By which I mean our visit to Ikea, arriving shortly after noon on a Sunday, involved no physical injury or near-suffocation.
The first bit was almost spooky: thousands of people emerging from their cars, and walking with unnatural calm towards the great coloured temple, in vast crocodiles. Had we all extended our arms in front of us it might have resembled mass sleepwalking.
All of Irish life was represented. There were men who would have preferred a livestock sale; small, dazed children being wheeled in trolleys; furtive matrons, expensively dressed, there because of the economic climate; people wearing black, working out dimensions on their iPhones; men with the kind of glasses that spell out “I am an architect”; couples with big earrings, tattoos and buggies; students arguing loudly about the subjectivity of taste; husbands under hypnosis; bribed teenagers; at least one TD; and one ex-con (not the same person).
Actually, we had a whale of a time. There was a pleasant community spirit, people exchanging smiles and pleasantries. And I found a chair, for little money, that suits my back. Also, a solution to the shelving problem in the study (lots of space, little money) has been found.
But first of all, we repaired to Ikea’s vast restaurant, which, by 12.30pm, was packed. Once again, there was a strange sense of calm, as if the customers had been mildly sedated. With that characteristic efficiency that the Swedes have brought to Saabs, sex and seating, long queues were processed in no time.
The food, by and large, was really rather good, and, perhaps more importantly in the times in which we live, astonishingly cheap. Put it like this: the five of us had a great deal to eat, much of it very good, soft drinks, bottled water and coffee, and the bill came to a few cents more than €40. There was a plate of gravadlax, four large slices of it, with the usual sweetish mustardy sauce, for €3.90. And it was good gravadlax, not the sweaty, fishy sort.
Prawns and hard-boiled egg on brown bread – an elegant little pick-me-up – cost €2.95. Haddock, encased in a breadcrumb overcoat, was good, even if the coating could have been crisper, and its accompanying chips were a touch flaccid but, bloody hell, only €5.50 – with tartare sauce thrown in. Level-pegging with the haddock was organic pasta (a kind of penne) with tomato sauce, a very generous helping for – pinch yourself – €1.95. The pasta was properly cooked, the sauce was chunky, suitably tomatoey and decently seasoned. All it needed was a dusting of Parmesan, but Ikea doesn’t do Parmesan.
Then there were the Swedish meatballs, which were . . . well, fine, if you’re really hungry. They resemble those meaty things you can buy in Lidl and Aldi, and which seem a good idea before you discover they have an off-putting springy, spongy character. They came with the traditional beige sauce and a generous dollop of very sweet lingonberry relish. You get 10 meatballs for €3.95.
The Scandinavians have brought us not just brilliant design at affordable prices but also the Daim (formerly Dime) bar. Ikea sells Daim bar cake for €1.50 a slice, one of the most seductive pathways to diabetes you are likely to find (the €1 for your soft drink, followed by limitless refills, a deal that extends to perfectly potable coffee, could point in this direction too).
Anyway, the Daim cake is just gorgeous. Little Swedish cakes for 70 cent divided opinion among us, but reminded me that I don’t like pistachio marzipan. A strawberry tartlet for €2.25 was fine. I’ve no doubt that, great value aside, Ikea’s food will be subject to a degree of snootiness. Personally, I think it’s great, even if I wouldn’t want to eat there every day.

McCabe Design to attend 100% Design London

100% Design

Yippee, we’ve made our booking and are all ready to jet over to London at the end of September for the well respected 100% Design exhibition and Tent London as part of London’s Design Festival. We’re looking forward to learning about new products and materials that are coming onto the market and hopefully spotting some talented Irish designers that will be showcased. Keep an eye out here for our news after visiting, we’ll ,make sure to post some photo’s our favourite finds from the visit.

Anyone else who’s interested should visit;  www.100percentdesign.co.uk and www.tentlondon.co.uk to find out more 🙂