The Society of Designers in Ireland was founded in 1972 arising from the Scandinavian Report in 1962. It changed its name to the Institute of Designers in Ireland in 1992. It has been led by many great designers over the years who have committed time, resources and passion to further the design industry in Ireland.
The Past Presidents last met in April 2016 in Dublin. The assembly was hosted by President George Boyle (2016), where the honorary title of President Emeritus and Fellow of the Institute was bestowed on them, they deserve it for all the hard work!
Dominic Southgate, IDI President 2020-2022, President Emeritus 2023-Present
Dominic is the IDI President Emeritus, having held the position of President from 2020-2022. He is the acting Treasurer and has been a member of IDI's council for a number of years.
He is the founder and Director of award winning industrial design business, Boxclever.
Róisín Lafferty. President July 2019 - December 2020
Founder and Lead designer award-winning design practice Kingston Lafferty Design
Kirk McCormack (June 2018- July 2019)
Kirk is an architect and founder of Longform Architecture.
Kim Mackenzie Doyle (May 2017-June 2018)
Kim is an award winning product designer and successfully led her two main initiatives Mind Over Matter and Why Design during her IDI Presidency.
Formerly, employed at Ireland’s leading product design consultancy Design Partners. She headed up one of Ireland's leading design research centres, designCORE, based in IT Carlow. Kim acts as CDO of tech startup HUB Controls
George Boyle, Architect and Director of George Boyle Designs and founder of Fumbally Exchange
George is an architect, published columnist, award-winning designer and one of Ireland’s leading social entrepreneurs. In 2010 she set up georgeboyledesigns and founded Fumbally Exchange which became one of Dublin’s first co-working spaces. George also delivers modules on entrepreneurship in the Trinity School of Business
Dr. Marc O Riain, Architecture and Interiors, IDI President Emeritus 2015.
Marc graduated from the NCAD in 1994 as an Industrial Designer, and went straight into Architecture and Interiors practice. He worked for 20 years in Interior Architecture, working with O'Riordan Staehli and Henry J Lyons in leadership roles before becoming IDI President in 2015 for the Year of Irish Design. He is the only double IDI Grand Prix winner with 23 other national and international awards for his work. Marc is a lecturer of Interior Architecture, at Cork Institute of Technology. He has complated a PhD in Architecture from UCC in 2016. He took over the IDI Presidency in 2015 playing a significant role in the introduction of Registered Designer in Ireland and the first policy document on Design in Ireland since 1962. He rebuilt the IDI website, increased membership by 400%, activity by 300% and income by 250%. Marc has begun the development of IDI Regional chapters.
2013 & 2014
Andrew Bradley, Brand Design, IDI President Emeritus 2013-14.
Andrew is Managing Director of Bradley Brand & Design. He has been managing design teams for over 20 years to deliver a wide range of design solutions from creating new brand identities, to retail environments, to digital strategy. His experience of design spans professional practice, promotion, research and teaching. Andrew has focused his career on fusing the skills of marketing with the creativity of design to enable retailers to strengthen their brand appeal for commercial growth.
John Walsh, Furniture Design, IDI President Emeritus 2012.
John Walsh is a Dublin based designer of furniture and products. He is a lecturer in Product Design at DIT, owner of Design Consultancy Made*, President of the Institute of Designers in Ireland (2012), and was a Product Design Jury Member at the 2011 iF Design Awards in Hannover. John has designed a diverse range of products from furniture and lighting to kitchen and bathroom taps to Facebook applications. He works as a consultant for several international companies and his office furniture systems have been chosen by companies such as Google, Microsoft, Virgin, the BBC, Saatchi to mention a few. John’s designs have won several international design awards including the FX International Design Awards 2008, the Triflow Future Talents Awards 2009 and several IDI Design Awards.
Carol Coffey, Graphic Design, IDI President Emeritus 2011.
Head of Broadcast Graphics in RTE and current Board Member of the An Post Stamp Design Advisory Committee. A member of the IDI since 1996, Carol's term as IDI President of the IDI was one of major upheaval with the negative impacts of the economic downturn resulting in a forced move, rehousing the office in Fumbally Exchange. Another major change was the developments of the IDI multi media presence which included improvements in our online delivery and a full online IDI awards from entrance through to judging. As President I also went about reintroducing the Design Social with a number of events including a tour of the Gibson Hotel. One of the highlights of the year’s Presidency was an invitation to one of the events, in the National Convention Centre, celebrating the Queen of England’s tour of Ireland. Myself and the then president elect John Walsh attended on behalf of the IDI and presented the British Ambassador (on behalf of the Queen) with the gift of a piece of jewelry designed and hand made by Derek McGarry. Denis O'Kelly joined the IDI in an executive role in 2011.
Damien Cranney, IDI President Emeritus 2010.
Derek McGarry, IDI President Emeritus 2009.
Worked as 3rd level design academic for 25 years in Ireland and the USA. 18 years experience developing academic research links to industry. My design research has been published and presented at international design education conferences in Australia, Finland, Italy and Ireland. I have lead a variety of research teams and organised international design conferences.
This work within the design sector resulted in my election as President of the Institute of Designers in Ireland in 2010 and to the Board of the Crafts Council of Ireland in 2011.
Barry Sheehan, Architect, IDI President Emeritus 2008.
Barry Sheehan is Head of Design and Assistant Head of the School of Art, Design and Printing at DIT. He was formerly the Managing Director of Sharc Design and Sheehan Architects. An Architect by Profession, Barry has been involved in the design of numerous projects from Architecture and Interior Design through to graphics, multimedia and product design. The work of Sharc Design and Sheehan Architects has appeared in several magazines and newspapers as well as onTelevision. He has lectured on his work including to the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), and Design Shannon amongst others. He is a regular commentator on Design matters in the national media.He is a guest lecturer and critic at many of Design courses throughout Ireland. He has previously tutored Interior Architecture in Griffith College Dublin and Product Design in DIT.
Dr. Tracy Fahey, IDI President Emeritus 2007.
Dr. Tracy Fahey is Head of Department in Fine Art and Head of Centre of Postgraduate Studies in Limerick School of Art and Design, LIT. She has previously worked in senopr positions at IT Carlow and Griffith College Dublin. She is a former Past President of the Institute of Designers in Ireland 2007, during which time she worked on the publication of the IDI book, Why Design? published in September 2007 by the Minister for Education. She is also a former Board member of the Hunt Museum Limerick, Design Ireland and the Institute of Design and Disability. She is a founder member of the Gothic Association of New Zealand and Australia (2013) and the Irish Network for Gothic Scholars (2013).
Cameron Ross, IDI President Emeritus 2006.
Prof Arthur Duff, Architect, IDI President Emeritus 2005
Arthur Duff has over 25 years’ experience in architecture, interior design, and design and manufacturing of furniture and other products. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture (formerly School of Architecture), CEPT University. After completing his studies, he worked for Anant Raje and Kiran Pandya and spent 10 years in India. Returning to Ireland he co-founded the Duff-Tisdall Design Studio where Architecture, Interiors and Furniture design are practiced in an integrated manner. He also established a manufacturing company to produce in-house designs, and opened a number of retail outlets to sell various designed and commissioned products.
Prof. Duff’s commitment to design education is reflected in his years of work as lecturer, advisor and examiner with a number of the main Irish Design institutions. He is past President of the Institute of Designers in Ireland (MIDI) and a member of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (MRIAI). In response to the Irish market crash of 2008 he set up the Malthouse Design Center as a resource base for young designers focusing on bringing their ideas to the market. For several years he represented Ireland at trade missions to Italy and China. He has exhibited in 100% Design on numerous occasions and currently has product on show in the Irish Pavilion, Expo, Milan and in the State Apartments, Dublin Castle.
Martin Gaffney, Designer, IDI President Emeritus 2004.
Martin Gaffney is a Design and Brand Manager. He holds a MBA Design Management from the University of Westminster London (2000) and an Advanced Diploma in Visual Communications from the College of Marketing and Design (DIT) Dublin (1982). Martin was founding partner of Designworks in 1983 and over the years, he has held the positions of Managing Director, Creative Director and Client Services Director. Since 2009 he is the Design and Brand Management Strategy Consultant for Designworks. He is a Past President of the Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI) and a former Chairperson of the Graphic Design Business Association (GDBA). Martin is also the former National PRO of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and he is an advisor to the Music Instrument Fund of Ireland (MIFI). As President of the IDI in 2004 he organised an extensive calendar of events and initiatives countrywide including touring exhibitions and talks by Typographer Bruno Maag (Dalton Maag), The Norwegian Design Council and Andy Milligan (Interbrand). He edited, designed and produced ‘Why Design’ a guide to studying design in Ireland.
Selma Harrington, Architect, IDI President Emeritus 2003.
Trained as Architect at the University of Sarajevo, she is a Registered RIAI Architect. As President of the IDI, Selma worked to strengthen the IDI office, revived the work on long-term strategy and fostered the international links, including the ECIA and the Norwegian Design Council.
Subsequently, she served as Secretary General of the European Council of Interior Architects –ECIA (2004-06) and as President of Architects Council of Europe- ACE (2010-11 and 2012-13). She delivered key note lectures to professional networks in Ireland, at EU level and internationally. Selma is also a lecturer and Programme Director at Master’s design course in GCD. Following the MPhil in European Studies in TCD in 2012, she is now a PhD researcher at University of Strathclyde, examining the cultural history and sustainable reuse of a Modernist museum building in Sarajevo. As Principal in ANIMA DESIGN, she combines her Research, Strategic Planning, Brief Development and Public Outreach experience to provide service in Cross-disciplinary Programming, Design and Project Management.
Libby Carton, IDI President Emeritus 2002.
A graduate of NCAD, Libby Carton cut her professional design teeth at Pentagram in New York and MetaDesign and WAF in Berlin. She established the design and communications partnership Carton LeVert with her husband Rick in Berlin in 1997, moving to Dublin in 1998 and back to her roots in Donegal in 2002. These years of practice yielded a wide range of work for both public and private sector clients, as well as numerous awards including a gold medal at the inaugural European Design Awards in 2007.
These days, as a sole practitioner, the most demanding of her two remaining design clients is Kinnegar Brewing, established by herself and Rick as a commercial craft brewery in 2013. During her years of active involvement with the IDI, her proudest achievement was the upgrading of the Institute’s communications material.
Sean McNulty, Industrial Designer IDI President Emeritus 2001.
Sean is CEO of Dolmen, a creative design and innovation consultancy. Dolmen’s core expertise is in product design and succeeds by applying a lean product development process that helps clients discover, develop and deliver new product innovation. Sean’s expertise is in integrating these processes concurrent with the existing product development cycle. Clients include Diageo, Roca, SKI, numerous Medical device multinationals as well as a wide range of SME all focused on growing export markets.
Sheila Robinson, IDI President Emeritus 2000.
Hugh Wallace, Architect, IDI President Emeritus 1999.
Hugh is an Architect with over 30 years experience in the Design Industry where his work won many awards for projects such as Dundrum Town Centre, Ashford Castle Development Masterplan, Antognolla Resort Masterplan, Indigo Hotel European Design Manual, Brown Thomas, Peter Mark etc.Hugh has appeared on the RTE programme House of the Year 2015 as a Judge and has been asked back for the second series.He was awarded the “Outstanding Contribution Award” at the Fit Out Awards 2014. He was President of the IDI in 1999.
Steve Conlon, IDI President Emeritus 1998.
Caitriona Shaffrey, IDI President Emeritus 1997.
Caitriona is an RIAI registered architect, a Fellow of IDI, a Registered Designer in Ireland and an RIAI Conservation Architect Grade 3. Her practice CPA Architects is based in Dublin and covers design interiors and all aspects of architrecture.
Caitriona Shaffrey: M.IDD, Dip Arch, B Arch Sc, FIDI, Dip.Des.DIT, MRIAI
Michael Grogan, IDI President Emeritus 1996.
John Tobin, IDI President Emeritus 1995.
Brian Donnelly, IDI President Emeritus 1994.
Frances McDonogh, IDI President Emeritus 1993.
Niall Brennan, IDI President Emeritus 1992.
David Morgan, IDI President Emeritus 1991.
John Sugrue, IDI President Emeritus 1990.
Denis Handy, Architect, IDI President Emeritus 1989.
Denis Handy practices as Denis Handy consulting, architecture + inclusive design, and previously in the partnership Ryan O’Brien Handy, architects and designers. He currently specialises in residential care design for older people and design for dementia. Past positions held include President of the Institute of the Designers in Ireland, Honorary Secretary of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, Honorary Treasurer of the European Institute of Design & Disability and President of the International Federation of Interior Architects / Designers (1995-97). High points with the SDI/IDI were the Design for Disability Conference in 1989 and the 1997 IFI General Assembly in Dublin and ‘A Sense of Place’ Conference in Killarney.
Martin Crotty, IDI President Emeritus 1988.
Professor Iseult McCarthy, IDI President Emeritus 1987.
Professor Iseult McCarthy is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design and has a Masters Degree in Education from Trinity College Dublin. She practised as a graphic designer in London and Dublin until her appointment as Lecturer in the Faculty of Design at NCAD in the early 1960s. She was appointed Head of Faculty of Art and Design Education in the College in 1985 and remained in that position until her retirement in 1998. She was President of the Institute of Designers in Ireland in 1987. She was a member of the Curriculum and Examinations Board and chaired both its Arts Working Party and Arts Board of Studies. She has published articles on art and design education and has contributed to conferences and seminars in Ireland and abroad. She has served as External Examiner and Visiting Lecturer in universities and colleges in Ireland, Britain and Finland. She was appointed a member of the An Post Stamp Design Advisory Committee in November 2004 and as its Chairman in August 2005. She is an ex officio member of the An Post Philatelic Advisory Committee.
Liam Birkett, IDI President Emeritus 1986.
With colleagues, he founded Bernardini, Birkett & Gardner, a design & marketing consultancy which, for more than 20 years was responsible for corporate identities and many marketing initiatives for blue chip companies as well as SMEs. Because of his depth of knowledge in Intellectual Property (IP), acquired through progressing branding and patents on behalf of clients and himself, he was asked by the largest IP law firm on the island, to market that firm. The challenge was to make the subject matter interesting, attractive, relevant and meaningful to everyone! For seven years he was an intellectual property consultant with the firm and is repeatedly asked back to speak to university classes, business groups and professional bodies both national and international. He was chosen by the European Commission to deliver his expertise to SMEs in entrant countries and is a Consultant Expert to the European Commission Framework Programme.He is the author of two very popular books; “How to create your trade mark, protect it and build your brand” and “You are an inventor”
Donal Gilligan, IDI President Emeritus 1985
George Hutton, IDI President Emeritus 1984.
Peter Metcalf, IDI President Emeritus 1983.
Alec Pamplin, IDI President Emeritus 1982.
Gerry Brouder, IDI President Emeritus 1981.
Alan Pleass, IDI President Emeritus 1980.
Robin Walker, Architect, IDI President Emeritus 1979.
Robin Walker (1924 – 1991) joined Michael Scott’s office in 1948, a year after graduating from UCD. Previously he had worked for Scott during his college holidays. After graduating, he worked and studied under Le Corbusier in France on a French Government Scholarship before rejoining Scott’s office for a period. He then went to the Rhodesia and the United States where he worked with Skidmore Owings Merrill and Mies van der Rohe. While in the United States he graduated with a MSc. in City and Regional Planning at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1958. He became an Associate of Scott’s firm in 1956 and returned to Ireland to join Scott full time in 1958. He became a full partner in 1961 along with Ronnie Tallon in the firm Michael Scott and Partners which later became Scott Tallon Walker. He was elected President of the RIAI from 1968-1969 succeeding Wilfrid Cantwell. He was elected President of the IDI in 1979. After retiring in 1982, he was very active with painting and died in 1991.
Frank Ryan, IDI President Emeritus 1978
Raymond Kyne, IDI President Emeritus 1977
Kevin Fox, Architect, IDI President Emeritus 1976
SDI and RIAI President
Alpho O’Reilly, Production Designer, IDI President Emeritus 1975.
Head of the RTÉ Design Department Alpho O'Reilly working at a drawing board in his studio, possibly the design office, most likely in 1964. An image from this photoshoot was published in the RTÉ Guide on 18 September 1964 regarding his stage designs for the Dublin Theatre Festival that year.
Alpho O'Reilly was appointed Head of Design at RTÉ in 1961 and Director of Design in 1972. A feature on Alpho and his work was published in the RTÉ Guide on 31 December 1965.
Dr Arthur Gibney (2006) Architect, IDI President Emeritus 1974
Award-winning and renowned architect Dr Arthur Gibney, who was President of the IDI in 1974. Also a former president of the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI) and president of the Royal Hibernian Academy. In 1974, Dr Gibney received the RIAI Triennial Gold Medal, which is the premier award for architecture in Ireland, for his work on the Irish Management Institute.
Raymond McGrath, Founding IDI President Emeritus 1973
Raymond McGrath (1903-1977). An Australian born architect and interior designer. Educated at the Universities of Sydney where he trained under Professor Leslie Wilkinson.In 1930 he set up practice in London and his first commission was to design the studios of Broadcasting House where he was joined by Wells Coates, Edward Maufe and Serge Chermayeff. McGrath wrote for the Architectural Review in the 1930's and in 1937 he published his own book titled "Glass in Architecture and Decoration" he had a particular interest in glass. His etched glass doors were installed at RIBA headquarters Portland Place London.
The outbreak of war was financially devastating, and McGrath’s move to Dublin as senior architect for the Board of Works came less than a year later. Working as head of the government’s architectural services from 1948, his career came to be partly one of procuring, restoring and furnishing important state buildings, for example Irish embassies abroad. In the 1950's he began work on the restoration of Dublin Castle and embarked on a new venture of designing carpets. McGrath was also a significant figure in supporting and encouraging craft and manufacturing – he was important to the survival of Donegal Carpets, the firm that realised his designs for carpets for his major work on the state apartments in Dublin Castle, and for Irish embassies in London, Washington, Paris, Rome and Ottawa.
He founded the Society of Designers in Ireland in 1972. McGrath died in 1977 in Dublin.