Take a glimpse into the mind of Davin Larkin, a designer, thinker, maker and educator at GMIT Letterfrack by reading some of his thoughts, ramblings, ideas and observations.
Knowledge is freedom, freedom of thought, freedom of humanity, but knowledge can also be a restriction. Understanding how something is made is a key asset for most designers but when you are starting out it can also be a constraint on your design abilities. Knowing you have to make your creation limits your creativeness to what you know you can make.
Designers need to learn to ignore their making knowledge to find a truly creative solution to the challenge at hand. Knowledge is just another tool and knowing when to use it and when not is key. Not knowing how something will be made or not caring at the conceptual stage provides freedom of thought and freedom of expression.
My love affair with Denmark and Scandinavian Design started in 2005. I had the pleasure of spending 6 months in Aarhus studying at the Arkitektskolen as part of the Erasmus exchange programme. At this early stage in my career, I was heavily influenced by the design ethos that flows through life in Denmark. My time spent their and travelling within Scandinavia has influenced not only my style to this day but also my belief that design should be embedded in everything we do.
In January 2017, I had the pleasure to return to Copenhagen as part of the fourth year study trip for students in GMIT Letterfrack. During this trip, we got to visit Fritz Hansen, PP Møbler, DTU Diplom, Space 10, Danish Design Museum and more. Once again, I found myself immersed in Danish culture, a culture that from the outside seems to value design so much more than our Irish culture does.
Twelve years on from my first Danish trip, Irish design has progressed. On the inside, things are changing and the ‘Design Rising’ is coming. Design has moved from the periphery to centre stage and the quality of work being produced is without doubt equivalent to the Danish standard. However, in some respects it is only those in the know that see this rising. The danes operate an outside-in model while we seem to be operating an inside-out model. I look forward to the day where our design culture firmly meets the outside world and is embedded in everything we do.
Kooyong Design was setup as a design studio and consultancy firm in 2009 as an avenue to get my products to market. However, in 2011 an opportunity arose to work as a design educator in GMIT Letterfrack, an opportunity one could not walk away from. Since this cross roads was presented to me, I have travelled along two roads simultaneously but over time the distance between each has grown.
A professional development opportunity arose in June 2016 which became the catalyst for an identity change. Questions like who was I then, who am I now and who do I want to be in the future swirled through my mind. Ultimately I chose to end the road for Kooyong Design and rebrand under my own name. To me it has served its purpose, it had a time in my life and now I must focus on my next challenge. I have not left behind my work but amalgamated the most important parts to create a positive and creative vision for the future. This website is the culmination of that professional development opportunity and you can read more about the process here.
Having driven through the Lough Inagh Valley in Connemara while commuting to work over the past five years it still never ceases to amaze me by its beauty. On a cold December morning with time tight I could not pass by the beauty presented to me. This picture captures the serene environment that I have the benefit of living and working in.
Design to me is all about observation, you have to appreciate what is around you to understand how to make it better. Sometimes observation is about gathering inspiration, other times it is about escape but mostly we do not let ourselves have the time to observe. Take five minutes to observe your surroundings, it might give you a new perspective to your day ahead.