One More Time: Dublin Selected *297


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It's been momentous. It will outlive us all.

At 3pm on Friday, Trinity College will bestow doctorates upon the finest. Hina Jilani, Graça Machel, Peter McVerry SJ and Tomas (Tomi) Reichental will all step forth. Jilani is a renowned lawyer and civil society activist. Marcel is one of the foremost advocates for women and children's rights and has been a social and political activist over many decades. McVerry is a tireless social campaigner for society and its citizens. Reichenstal is a Bergen-Belsen concentration camp survivor. Oh and David Norris and Rory O'Neill will be there too.

We feel partly apologetic to decide to praise and acclaim gay activists yet again this year. What a weird thing to say. What a great thing to feel. But lest us forget, in the year of our Panti 2015, that before this came struggle and opprobrium and so much more. And someone was a voice among the few for others 18 years before it was legally acceptable to do so and many more years before it was comfortable to do so.

At 4pm when the honorary doctors roll out for their Breda Fitzsimons Irish Times photo shoot, we suggest you be there for that one moment in time. A reason to fill the frame with faces and not cobbled stones. Because this is not the work of one man or one woman. This is a ribbon and feather boa moment for everyone to let free in the wind. The collective spirit spanning generations. The meaningful moment without Gerry Adams. Never forget to appreciate and celebrate. Hug it out forever. Be there.

Who is concerned that they might take our freedom as well as our robes back? Michael or Stephanie?

At Swim

by Michael McDermott

The Boys

by Zara Hedderman

Jameson Black Barrel Craft Market

by Le Cool Dublin

The White Knights

by Gita Lalloo

Chambers of the Curious

by Le Cool Dublin

Makers & Brothers At Home

by Zara Hedderman

Grace Weir: 3 Different Nights, recurring

by Aidan Kelly-Murphy

E.gress: Marie Brett & Kevin O'Shanahan

by Aidan Kelly-Murphy


by Dave Desmond

Through a Glass Darkly

by Zara Hedderman

Liminal - Irish Design at the Threshold

by Amelia O'Mahony-Brady

Finders and Keepers

by Zara Hedderman


by Michael McDermott

National Crafts & Design Fair

by Stephanie Kelly

There is love and there are robots. We can think of nothing better than combining the two though whether that is part of a dickie bow and cuff link combo or a scarf and earring one. This is 3-D with glee. Emer O'Daly from Love & Robots tells us more about the concept and their pop-up shop.

Photo credits: Killian Broderick
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the origins of Love & Robots?
I originally trained as an architect. I worked for several years in architecture and did a masters in the States. There, I learnt a lot about digital design and 3d printing which was the starting point for Love & Robots. With Love & Robots, we started thinking about how products are made – how they are designed, manufactured and distributed. Ordinarily, brands are these monolithic things. They predetermine what you buy without taking unique people and tastes into account. They also produce vast quantities of identical products – it's estimated that 10% of all fashion items end up as landfill. What we wanted to create instead was this new type of brand that is interactive, responsive and co-creative. All of our products are only manufactured on-demand so there is no waste or surplus product and each product is personalised to each and every customer so it is created uniquely for them.

How important is the input of the purchaser in developing a unique product?
The input of the purchaser is incredibly important – the idea being that a product is only complete when it has been personalised by the customer. So, the last 10% of every product is determined by the customer – there are multiple options, tweaks and personalisations that can be make to each design range which means that the products are fluid and exist as families of products that evolve in response to the customer rather than singular designs. It's a different way of thinking about things! It means that the purchaser is much more active in the product creation process.

What has been the biggest development in the 3-D sphere this year?
Probably the expiration of patents in the 3d printing industry. FDM and SLS 3d printing technologies are now out of patent which is exciting becuase it means we will see lots more companies starting up and the cost of the machines reducing.

Is there a resistance from people still to the idea of 3-D printing and design?
I suppose with anything new, there is some wariness which is understandable. People want to know whether the materials are of a high enough quality, comparable to other finishes and techniques. But I think once they see that the quality is identical and you can in fact achieve many things that you cannot create in any other way – like 3d printed chainmail – I think this interests people.

Is the pop-up shop a means of informing and reassuring your customers?

Yes – the pop-up shop has been a way for us to make the whole process and the pieces very real for people. So, visitors to the shop can play with the jewellery and accessories in 3d and personalise them on-the-spot. We can then make your customised design, usually within the hour. So, you can go off, have a coffee and come back to collect your unique piece.

What has proven to be the most popular products in your range?
The Map Bow Ties and cufflinks have been very popular – especially as personalised gifts for men. With them, you can choose any map of anywhere in the world, at any scale, and have it engraved onto cherry wood bowtie or cufflinks. Other popular ranges have been in the fine jewellery – our sterling silver Helix range and our personalised Name Necklaces which come in acrylics as well as sterling silver and 18k gold, have been very popular.

What has been the biggest challenge in 2015 for you?
Trying to innovate at every stage from design to manufacturing to shipping has been very challenging. There is a lot of juggling involved when you add in accounting, payroll, fundraising, marketing, shop design, fitout etc! It helps that the Love & Robots team is multi-talented and crosses lots of disciplines from software engineering to carpentry to graphic design to 3d printing.

How important is funding regarding the development of Love & Robots?
We couldn't have started a highly intensive technology business without funding in place and it has enabled us to assemble a really great team.

What has market growth been like in 2015 and is the key being a dominant player to capitalise when it takes off?
We only launched Love & Robots in October 2014 so the past year has been a crazy mix of developing the platform, the tools and the products, growing the team. It has been a good year in terms of growing the brand, making sales and delivering products. The ambition is to be at the forefront of these innovations in design and manufacture .

Given you were a winner of the Spark of Genius award at the Web Summit, do you have any opinion on its decision to leave Dublin?

The Web Summit has been really fantastic for us – we have attended the last 3 Summits and we can trace back a lot of the great things that have happened to us, back to these handful of days in November each year. It's a pity that it has left Dublin, but that doesn't mean it's the end of the story. Hopefully it will return.

Love and Robots Pop-Up Shop
is at Fumbally Exchange on 5 Dame Lane until December 24.

Tonight, Brian McMahon, the instigator and gatekeeper of Brand New Retro launches the print version of his long-time obsession. He tells us more about the bric-and-brac of the past.

Photo credits: Emil Hernon

Where did the idea for Brand New Retro originate?

The initial idea was to digitise and document content I had created from back in the postpunk days of the late 1970s/80s. This included scanning pages from Too Late, a fanzine I produced with my brother Eamonn and digitising recordings of groups I was in, such as Choice. I named the blog Brand New Retro as the content I posted was 'brand new' to the internet. I soon realised that it wasn't just my own personal stuff that had no online presence but other fabulous Irish fanzines such as Heat and indeed more mainstream magazines were also absent.

How did you go about sourcing materials?
I had my own collection to start with, accumulated over the previous 35 years. These mags were either purchased at the time of issue or vintage copies picked up at car boot sales, charity shops, jumble sales and markets. My brother & mother kindly donated their collections to me. Eamonn had a good stash of fanzines whilst my mother had a selection of fashion mags from the 1960s. I think the time we spent producing our own fanzine made us appreciate the effort and work involved in magazine production and so we were less inclined to throw them away. Once the blog became popular I worked harder at sourcing new content, visiting more markets and car boot sales and getting there earlier. I told traders what I was interested in so they could keep me in mind. I've picked up some nice stuff at the wonderful Dublin Flea Market. Online can be expensive but takes less time and is worthwhile when looking for a specific magazine.

When did you decide on creating a print version?
Although it was something I'd be thinking about for years, June 2014 was the date, I decided to collaborate with my friend Joe Collins on a print version of the book. Joe is a graphic designer and has worked in Marketing and Advertising for over 20 years. He was a fan of the blog and in particular the old adverts. Just as Dennis Hopper was the perfect Frank Booth for Blue Velvet, Joe, with his graphic AND advertising experience, was the perfect man for this job. And he proved this. We collaborated very well to produce what I think is beauty of a book.

Do you have some personal favourite discoveries?
I have loads. Every scan has a story behind it as regards where it came from and how I sourced it, which I really like. I love discovering stuff from my childhood years (1960s). Stuff which I don't specifically remember or had forgotten about, but can still relate to. I'd say, my biggest discovery was appreciating the significance of New Spotlight magazine in the 1960s. I remember it from the 1970s but wasn't a big fan because of its excessive coverage of the show band scene. But now I know and appreciate what a gem of a magazine it was. Particularly in the 1960s as it
showcased some fantastic Irish design, adverts, photos and illustrations along with cool columns by Pat Egan, Sam Smyth and Donal Corvin.

Have you noticed a trend towards retro in advertising, typography or other creative forms at the moment?
For sure. But it's always been like that. People are influenced by the past whether they are aware of it or not. Talking to Joe about this recently and he observed how hand rendered type has been very popular for a number of years. It's evident with new business and many bespoke projects. It gives a look of crafted and makes things look personable. The larger global brands have understandably not embraced the look. Instagram is also responsible for this trend with its sun kissed retro look.

Are there particular fanzines or magazines you have struggled to track down?
No. None in particular. I'd still love to have more Irish magazines but I like working with what I have and making the most of that. The book doesn't set out to be the definitive collection or listing of every Irish magazine.

What's planned next for Brand New Retro?
For now I'm just excited about the book coming out. I'm looking forward to meeting some of the people who were involved with the original publications at the launch.

Brand New Retro, published by Liberties Press, will be launched tonight at 6.30pm in the Workmans Club. Check their website for more details.

Le Help

Le Cool is a free weekly magazine distributed every Thursday that features a selection of cultural events and leisure activities, revealing the things you really shouldn't miss. We filter out, among other things, the best art, film, music, and club nights, as well as a careful selection of extraordinary bars, restaurants and other fine places. Le Cool content is chosen because we believe it is worth your time and will never be traded for money.

To contact our editorial team, email Stephanie.
For marketing, advertising and other commercial type stuff, email Michael

Published by: LE COOL GROUP

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