Show and tell: the Irish 'Souvenir Project' by Makers and Brothers
A souvenir speaks of experience. Whether buying them to capture your own memories, or as a reminder of the unique culture and feel of a place, a souvenir should always have a history behind it. As part of Irish Design 2015, Jonathan Legge of Makers and Brothers set out to match-make local craftsman with designers. Eventually, nine functional Irish mementos were born, forming 'The Souvenir Project'.
During London Design Festival, the Rochelle School in Shoreditch was taken over by peat boardgames, posh pom-poms and a range of other slightly more conventional items. The term 'souvenir' tends to conjure up something more akin to a glittering four leafed clover key chain – this project reclaims the term, commemorating the history of local craft instead of commercialisation.
Inspired by the layered landscape of west Galway, the 'Measc Muddle' souvenir incorporates layers into its design and function. While Galway's landscapes are made up of sea, stone and grass, the Measc Muddle's layers are reserved for Irish red clover, boy myrtle and Irish whiskey (the key ingredients to classic Irish cocktail, the Móin Bhui). The measurements are indicated by the different heights of the brushed brass and local sycamore wood components of the muddle's shaft.
There are three Irish versions of the saying 'it's raining cats and dogs', each indicating a different type of rain. Crystal vases made by J Hill's Standard and cut with illustrations of these celebrates the colloquial nature of the nation's language.
The diverse rock formations around Ireland mean that farmers have built their walls to be in tune with their local geological resources. As you travel through the Irish countryside a pattern emerges in the stone walls; Superfolk designed prints to mimic this in their trio of kitchen linen cloths, printed by Print Block.
Each of these objects, despite being new collaborations, has a unique heritage tied to local customs and culture. Next time you're looking for a holiday souvenir, know that an Eiffel Tower replica made in China may no longer fit the brief.