GMIT Letterfrack student wins design award

A furniture design student studying at GMIT Letterfrack has won the overall prize in the 2011 House and Home/National Crafts Council of Ireland Student Design Awards.

Tom Sweeney from Tully, Raheens, Castlebar, won the overall award for his scalable, modular design, wall-mounted contemporary storage system. He is a second year student on the BSc in furniture design and manufacture programme in GMIT’s Connemara campus. His piece was designed and made under the guidance of GMIT lecturer Laura Mays.

The competition attracts entrants from design colleges all over the country. This year’s theme, ‘Home Comforts’, prompted one of the biggest ever entry levels, with submissions from the fields of furniture, ceramics, glass, lighting, and textiles.

One of the judges, House and Home editor Dara Flynn, described Tom Sweeney’s mini storage system as a really flexible idea with a number of different applications. “What I saw as great for pens and thumbtacks, another judge pictured in the bathroom, or for storing tea in a kitchen,” Mr Sweeney said.

GMIT Letterfrack student Jens Kosak from Oughterard, who won the Student Design Award in 2009, was runner-up for his innovative bed design which uses sustainable materials and requires no tools or fixings to construct. He was awarded second place and worked under the supervision of GMIT lecturer Dr Patrick Tobin.

Another GMIT Letterfrack student, Katherine Griffith from Ballina, Co Clare, was among four students shortlisted for an award. She showcased her modular shelving system which was developed under the supervision of lecturer Anthony Clare.

“Tom’s success in this competition is a fantastic achievement,” said Dermot O’Donovan, GMIT Letterfrack head of department. “His design brings together many aspects of product development that are extremely relevant today.

“His design embraces fundamental principles of design for manufacture, innovation, and design quality. His success reflects the specialised skills acquired by students of GMIT Letterfrack and the input of our very dedicated staff. It also continues GMIT Letterfrack’s success in this competition over the past number of years. I would also like to acknowledge our other students who entered the competition and to Jens and Katherine for being shortlisted in the final selection.”

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