Through The Designer's Eyes: Dublin
In this month's feature we touch down in Dublin, Ireland, the home of designer Oisín Hunt. From the grey skies to the contagious energy that pulses through the city, Oisín's design-centric relationship with the city he calls home speaks to Dublin's distinct environment and the aesthetic it inspires.
Where do you live?
I have been living between Dublin and New York, but right now I am in Dublin.
What do you love most about your city?
I love Dublin because it is the only place where I can truly design without distraction. Maybe it's because I’m from here so I don’t feel the need to be anywhere else or maybe it's the bleakness of looking out my window and seeing grey clouds. I found myself too distracted when I lived in both New York and Berlin. The smaller things that push me to design are why I love Dublin.
How does Dublin inspire and influence your work?
Dublin inspires me because of the dreary weather, grey skies and grey buildings. When I was younger I never realized actually how much the lack of colours in Dublin impacted my colour palette when it came to design. It's actually something I am thankful for.
How would you describe the creative scene in your city?
Dublin has a burgeoning creative scene full of painters, artists and musicians. While I was in New York for 14 months, a friend of mine told me about The Grey Area, which I believe is a fantastic project for Dublin. When I was a young boy in Dublin I was always admiring the graffiti artists in Dublin (Grift, NDK etc.). Plenty of creative people are coming from Dublin and some of my favorite artists are from here.
Is there a large design community in your city? How do you interact with it?
I would say there is a small design community here. In Dublin there are a few colleges where designers come from, however, I would say I am somewhat of a recluse to that community. I have never really formally been introduced to many designers. I did not study in any of the colleges here so although I am proud to be from Dublin, I can’t say I am a part of the larger design community.
What does Dublin have that other cities do not?
Dublin has a certain charm about it and the people do, too. It's something unexplainable unless you are here.
What are the must-sees and must-dos for visitors?
| Visit Frances Bacon’s Studio at Hugh Lane Gallery
| IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) gardens during the summer
| Kerlin Gallery
| Trinity Library
| Howth and Bray in the summer
| Phoenix Park
| South William Street
| Gaiety Theatre
| Guinness Storehouse is a fantastic tour and has one of the best views
Where is the best place to stay?
The Dean on Harcourt Street or the Generator Hostel in Smithfield. Two contrasting places for both ends of the budget.
What cuisines are distinct to your city?
Irish stews and fresh seafood from the Irish Sea.
What are some of your favorite spots to eat and drink?
| Bunsen Burger or Wowburger
| Chapter One Restaurant is probably my favorite restaurant in Dublin
| Vintage Cocktail Club or Zozimus for cocktails
Where do you go when you want to decompress and take a break from design?
I truly believe that living so close to Phoenix Park is a blessing.
What's the biggest misconception people have about your city?
That it is a party city only filled with pubs and bad weather.
How does the culture in your city impact your designs?
I don’t really think the culture of Dublin impacts my design in that sense. Dublin's weather, buildings and moss-covered grey walls have an impact on my colour choices.
What is your city missing in terms of design and creativity?
Design wise, Dublin can learn a lot more about design sustainability and infusing design into communities within Dublin. In order to push design and creativity in Dublin, I would love to see more grants from the IFDA awarded to designers who are producing in Dublin or Ireland.
How has your city changed in the past few years?
Dublin has gone through a lot even within the last 10 years considering the recession in 2008. It seems and feels like it is back in a “boom” period again, which is scary.
How have these changes impacted your designs?
Those changes haven’t impacted my work as I don’t particularly pull from socioeconomic aspects of my own life. I have always pulled from theoretical shapes I create and narrations I imagine in my head as stories.
Do you manufacture your clothes in your city?
Yes, I proudly manufacture everything in Dublin and source my fabrics from Dublin and Ireland. “Made in Ireland” is something I am proud of.
Looking at your business and the changing landscape, will it be sustainable to stay in your city for the long term?
It is something I am asked about often, considering Dublin right now is quite expensive. However, I have a strong relationship with my manufacturer and have full confidence in keeping everything made in Ireland for the long term.
If you left your city tomorrow, where would you go?
I would be in Paris. I fell in love with Paris when I first visited back in 2012. Paris is forever in my heart. Milan is always an option, too.
Would uprooting reshape the way you create and design?
I don’t believe the uprooting would reshape how I design, however, it may affect my method. As I mentioned earlier, Dublin allows me to have no distractions. My girlfriend keeps me on the straight and narrow path and I love her for that. My method towards design would allow me to be based anywhere, as my references are all from my own sketches of shapes that I infuse into classic menswear and womenswear silhouettes.
Do you think inspiration is tied to the physicality of a place or is it something greater? How about in your city specifically?
Inspiration in the present day does not have to come in the physical form for someone to be inspired. Particularly in this modern age where we have access to information. I think that people can garner inspiration from a place that they have never visited.