The Design Challenge Waterford winning entries exhibition opens on Tuesday, 2 April in the Waterford Institute of Technology’s Granary campus in Waterford city and runs from to Monday, 8 April.
The exhibition is part of a Waterford Cultural Quarter Design challenge, which is a research, collaboration with WIT’s Creativity & Culture Research Group in the School of Humanities, main project partners Waterford City and County Council and Garter Lane Arts Centre, together with support from Local Enterprise Office, Institute of Designers in Ireland, Design and Craft Council of Ireland, Creative Ireland and local community groups and industries.
The exhibition includes a diverse range of exciting design proposals from sixteen students in year four of the BA (Hons) in Design (Visual Communications) and two year five of the BArch (Hons).
The design proposals address specific challenges encountered by the groups and individuals within the Waterford Cultural Quarter. These challenges were highlighted within the project's totally inclusive public consultation process.
This exhibition stage of the competition is open to public vote and national jury, with the winning design proposal then being implemented within the Cultural Quarter.
Katherine Collins, Waterford Cultural Quarter Project Manager said, “Waterford City and County Council worked in a collaborative partnership with WIT and Garter Lane Arts Centre to examine the opportunities and challenges faced by the Cultural Quarter community, with assistance from Creative Spirits, our URBACT (EU) programme. Through the work of the students and their mentors we can see how our creative city can be defined by citizenship, openness & tolerance, and how it can support innovation, initiative and activity. We look forward to bringing the winning design forward to fruition and commend our partners and the students on the high quality and professionalism of their approach to design led solutions”.
Máire Henry, Head of Department of Architecture, commented that ‘Cultural quarters serve a diverse range of people groups and activities. The projects presented by the two students of architecture are enterprise based and open to all. They are embedded in the fabric of the O’Connell street area and resonate with the history of the area whilst imaging a future which provides more permeability and connection with the Quay and adjoining areas. Both projects respond to their individual briefs but add an extra dimension by creating ‘free space’ for the general public to ‘linger’ and socialise’.
Design Lecturer Joy Rooney noted that ‘this research project has a design led approach. It addresses real challenges shaping the Cultural Quarter today, as voiced by the community there. Our rapidly urbanising world has brought a rich cultural diversity to this historic precinct. Looking to the future, many sustainability challenges will unfold for this maritime city. Innovative design proposals from our students are directly informed by feedback from the community and project mentors. The designs are exhibited for consideration, with the winning proposal emerging as a tangible, creative action for the community’.
Another design collaborator Dr Fiona Dowling feels that the Design Challenge in O’Connell Street presents many opportunities for the design students to experiment and consider the wider implications that design has for a city space. The multi-disciplinary approach with Visual Communication and Architecture working on a collective brief has been a first and one, which links with the over-arching aim of the project to create a collaborative environment. The outreach for WIT Design to link with local groups and partners in the Waterford’s Cultural Quarter has been one of support and mutual growth which will be built on going forward.
For more information on the Design Challenge project visit: www.designchallengewaterford.ie.