Encore

The poor, unfortunate, much maligned deck. It is customary to chastise it mercilessly in a time honoured tradition stretching back as far as 2004 when it made its triumphant appearance in Ireland. It promised so much, for ten minutes it looked so cool and made us feel all Scandinavian.  We Can Get So Much More… Read more »

Stuck In A Moment

We’re all about the mindfulness now. Are you inhabiting the now, are you here? Are you focused on what you are doing right now, relinquishing all thought and preoccupation with the past and the future? We are encouraged to savour each moment whatever that moment is composed of, however unpleasant we might have traditionally considered… Read more »

Suburbia. Again.

Regular readers will know by now that a prime concern of mine is the dearth of sincere human interaction created and reinforced by our built environment. I have touched on the grim reality that most of us live in a version of a suburban environment that differs little from the seventy year old prototype. It… Read more »

Design

How does the car designer decide on what to base the shape of a new model? Or where does the inspiration for a product designer, a furniture designer, an architect, an interior designer come from?  Could it be a thought, a shape, an animal, something in nature? Design is first and foremost led by the… Read more »

Less Is More

In 1973 the Tennessee Conservationist magazine ran a competition for readers. A prize was offered for the best 100 word description of a photograph of an abandoned , dilapidated farmhouse in the middle of a neglected field. A Native American man won with the following: “Picture show white man crazy. Cut down tree. Make big… Read more »

Valuing Exterior Design

Anybody can grab an A4 sheet of paper, draw a rectangle and then further divide that shape up into smaller spaces. That can be the grass, that can be the patio and whatever’s left over here, well, we’ll just call that the planting. A six year old child could do that. Design is so much… Read more »

In Capable Hands on More 4

For gardening fans it’s all been coming up roses recently on More 4. A few weeks ago we were treated to The Autistic Gardeners and now we have Titchmarsh on Capability Brown on Thursday evenings. Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown was born in Northumberland in 1716 and throughout a career spanning fifty years produced a body of… Read more »

Reimagining Your Neighborhood

I contributed the final chapter to this new book on rebooting suburbia and our built environment, ‘Reimagining Your Neighborhood’. It has just been published in the United States, keep an eye out for it.Here’s the amazon link. Read more »

Picnic Time Again

If you really want to dip your toe in zeitgeisty waters you could do worse than get yourself down to Stradbally the first weekend of September every year. There is not a strand of popular and emergent culture worth talking about that doesn’t eke out a forum for itself at the Electric Picnic.   Naturally the… Read more »

Horticulture; Just The Job

It’s that time of year and all the talk is of the CAO, college choices and the points race. It’s a pivotal time in the life of a young person when the already pressurised environment is exacerbated by the inescapable but totally misguided insistence that these choices are final and irrevocable.  To some, of the… Read more »