NCAD Graduate, Orla McCarthy, wins SDC International Design Competition 2014

Orla McCarthy, a Textiles and Surface Design graduate from NCAD, has been announced as the winner of the SDC International Design Competition 2014 at an awards event held at Huizhou University, China.

Orla was chosen over the other finalists representing Hong Kong, India, UK, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh, China, Portugal and South Africa. All entries had to show evidence of using colour as an integral component of the design process as well as incorporating some aspect of this year’s theme of ‘Material World’.

Orla commented: "Winning the SDC International Design Competition is a great honour and a huge confidence boost as an emerging new designer. Having achieved this, I am now excited to begin my career in the design industry. It was an honour to represent my country and university. The trip to China and Hong Kong was an amazing opportunity to experience different cultures and meet some fantastic new friends. It was lovely to see the other students’ work and to see what inspired them. They are a hugely talented bunch. The whole trip was organised meticulously and we were all made to feel so welcome and special.

Colour is a huge part of my work and design process. When you’re designing textiles for interiors colour needs to be carefully considered as it has to be lived with on a day to day basis. I took inspiration from urban surfaces and old industrial signage for the competition brief and used a balance of muted greys and contrasting vivid, brighter colours to create fabrics for a contemporary interior.

I graduated with an honours degree in Textile and Surface Design in November. Once I have some industry experience I’d like to one day set up my own label."

The competition judges were Kathy Lewiston, a UK-based fashion designer and lecturer and Janet Cheung, vice chair of the Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association.

Kathy Lewiston commented: “Orla’s inspiration came from graffiti and derelict areas and her concept visually reflected this, which gave her interior designs a very contemporary look. Orla also presented an eye catching floral print in yellow and white. The colour and her print design worked in perfect balance to her other contemporary designs. Her colour palette was well balanced, commercial and refined. Orla’s designs were an absolute joy to look at and judge”.

Orla goes home with the £1,000 cash prize and the Veronica Bell trophy. The trophy is in honour of the late Dr Veronica Bell, (an SDC past-president) to acknowledge excellence in the field of colour and design.

Joint runners up were Daniel Matthews, a recent graduate from Huddersfield University in the UK, and Paradorn Katerat from Rangsit University in Thailand.

Dr Graham Clayton, Chief Executive of the SDC commented: “the SDC is a committed supporter of young designers. We work with universities across the world to ensure that the next generation of students has a clear understanding of colour. The work of the finalists is always of an exceptional standard and on behalf of the SDC, I would like to congratulate all the students on such inspiring designs.”