More than 50 unique furniture pieces designed and made by degree students in GMIT Letterfrack opened to the public in the campus gallery yesterday (Wednesday ). The exhibition was formally opened by the newly appointed CEO of Galway 2020 Hannah Kiely.
The exhibition, entitled Imagination, is a diverse and creative collection of products, furniture, and research, giving visitors an insight into the rich learning that takes place on this campus. Items selected are from students of furniture design, wood technology, and the teacher education degrees.
This year, for the first time, outdoor furniture is featured in the exhibition.
One of the projects undertaken by second year students involved the designing and making of a range of campus and community furniture. These included outdoor family seating, children’s furniture in the nearby woods, seating for the bus stop, and a stunning installation at the redesigned entrance to the campus. Many of these items were made using timber from trees that were storm-felled in Áras an Uachtaráin and given to GMIT Letterfrack by President Michael D Higgins.
Even the college’s reception area has been given an overhaul by students and now boasts a sleek and modern look with a stunning new mail holder for staff with a design inspired from the Wild Atlantic Way logo. The project was a collaboration involving GMIT, Connemara West, the Community Employment Programme, and the Galway County Council.
“This exhibition highlights the creativity in learning, skills, and research by our students and demonstrates how technology, design, and education can be interwoven to ensure that students have the best possible preparation for their future careers,” said Dermot O’Donovan, head of centre at GMIT Letterfrack. “This year GMIT has invested over €110,000 in new computer controlled technology, ensuring that students at the Letterfrack campus have access to the most up to date equipment. The fact that all students undertake work placements as part of their courses ensures that we have an excellent connection with our industry partners from whom we frequently get input, and visiting designers and business owners. There continues to be a significant demand for our graduates with 100 per cent employment for those entering the furniture industry in roles such as operations and project management, design and advanced manufacturing technology."
Currently the campus is expanding its operations to include a kiln and portable saw for converting and drying Irish timber. Collaborations with COFORD and Teagasc will see staff and students research the potential utilisation of Irish-grown timber and explore ways of adding value to our home-grown forest products with the aim of supporting sustainable regional development.
The exhibition will be open throughout the summer from Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm.
GMIT Letterfrack, the National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design & Technology, has been synonymous with the study of furniture design since 1987. The campus offers honours degrees in furniture design and manufacture, furniture and wood technology, and teacher education (construction studies and DCG ), attracting students from all over Ireland.
For further details on the course offerings and campus life at GMIT Letterfrack, see www.gmit.ie/letterfrack and follow GMIT Letterfrack Official on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.