NCAD students explore ‘Urban Everyday’ in Dublin 7

A Deliveroo delivery backpack, a courtroom drawing, architectural plans for a Dublin 7 housing scheme, and a street light in Dublin 7’s north inner city...

Press Release


Friday, 3rd July 2020


NCAD students explore ‘Urban Everyday’ in Dublin 7 as part of Dublin postcode project


A Deliveroo delivery backpack, a courtroom drawing, architectural plans for a Dublin 7 housing scheme, and a street light in Dublin 7’s north inner city are among the objects researched by students at the National College of Art & Design (NCAD), as part of a new project that explores the design and material culture in Dublin 7.


Launched today (03.07.20), the project, entitled ‘The Urban Everyday: Design and Material Culture of Dublin 7’, was undertaken by MA Design History and Material Culture and MA Service Design students at NCAD in partnership with the National Museum of Ireland (NMI), and sought to identify and research material that was characteristic of the experience of the area, and that raised questions about the nature of life in contemporary Ireland.


As part of the project, the students studied maps to understand the use of land and the morphology of Dublin 7, undertook ‘walk-shops’ with local experts, held information sessions with Dublin City Council Architects’ Division, visited the courts service, and read urban theory and history.


Subsequently, a series of themes were generated focusing on Dublin 7, a postcode that includes a distinctive markets area, legal and prison infrastructure, global connections, a high population of homeless people and a distinctive architectural history. Based on these themes, each student imagined what might be useful material to recommend the NMI add to its Contemporary Ireland Collection, and then conducted in-depth research into the item.


  • Qungmiao Zhu selected a Deliveroo delivery backpack as symptomatic of the gig economy, and how despite the ‘frictionless’ ways technology is used to order delivery food, there is always an actual body carrying the burden of that on their back.
  • Bhagya Kanakaratne researched the wooden pallet, found in particular in the City Fruit and Vegetable Markets, which is symptomatic of the standardisation of the storage and distribution of fresh produce, and the creative ways such objects are re-appropriated as furniture or end their days as fodder for Hallowe’en bonfires.
  • Tatsiana Coquerel focused on tabs designed to be worn by female barristers, drawing attention to the ‘traditions’ of legal dress.
  • Hazel Ramsay researched the work of court-room artists, choosing a sketch by Mike O’Donnell.
  • Sarah Heffernan selected a drawing by Dublin City Housing Architect Herbert G Simms, featuring plans for Chancery House, the public flat building on Chancery Place, as an example of superb design.
  • Emma Kelly researched a leaflet for the Capuchin Day Centre on Bow Street, which provides services to thousands of homeless people every year.
  • Marie Solova explored a darker aspect of ‘home’ in researching hostile architecture and design in the area. She chose a gently sloping bench, created to repel people who want to rest or sleep in public areas.
  • Laura de Búrca focused on the sodium vapor lamp, which is widely used in the illumination of public spaces in Dublin. There is currently a shift from using softly glowing sodium bulbs to bright, white LED ones, which will change the way people and animals experience twilight.


Commenting on the project, Programme Leader of the MA Design History and Material Culture, Dr Lisa Godson said: “We’re delighted to publish our students’ research on the design history and material culture of Dublin 7 today, and hope it will provide some insight into the experience of the area, and the nature of life in contemporary Ireland more generally. Working with experts in urban design, history and the public realm as part of this project has proven invaluable, and we are delighted to partner with the National Museum of Ireland on it. In previous years, we have focused on Dublin 1, 8 and 24, and we selected Dublin 7 due to our strategic partnership with the NMI – it is the location of Collins Barracks, the branch of the museum dedicated to history and decorative arts, and this is just one of the many projects NCAD is undertaking with the Museum.”


Curator at the NMI, Brenda Malone added: “This study of the varied material culture of Dublin 7 is very timely and important, as this fast-changing Dublin postcode, with its unique character and history, balances being a centre of the professions, the military, traditional working Dublin, gentrification and the deprivation that still exists in our city. An examination of the everyday objects from this area increases our understanding of how urban life, and what it produces, shapes how we see our environment and influences how we live.”


The NMI will now consider NCAD’s recommendations to its Contemporary Ireland Collection. Further information about ‘The Urban Everyday: Material Culture and Design in Dublin 7’ and the students’ research on their chosen items is available here.


To mark the launch of the project, NCAD, together with NMI, is hosting a webinar on the nature of everyday urban experience today (03.07.20), from 7pm-8.30pm. Speakers include author of Theories of Everyday Life and The Everyday Life Reader, Professor Ben Highmore; Design Innovation Leader at The Dock, Jess Majekodunmi; Curator at the NMI, Brenda Malone; and Director at the Irish Architecture Foundation, Nathalie Weadick. For further information and to register, visit




Contact: Thelma Harris, DHR Communications, Tel: 083-0517622


Notes to Editor:

  • Dr Lisa Godson and participating students are available for interview on request.
  • Images of the items researched by the students are available to download here.
  • Image captions are:
    • 01. ‘Wooden Pallet’. Bhagya Kanakaratne.
    • 02. ‘Leaflet for the Capuchin Day Centre’. Emma Kelly.
    • 03. ‘Courtroom Sketch’. Courtesy Mike O’Donnell.
    • 04. ‘New tabs for female barristers’. Jodie McArdle.
    • 05. ‘Architectural Plans’. Courtesy City Architects, Dublin City Council.
    • 06. ‘Sloped Bench’. Google Maps (2019).
    • 07. ‘Deliveroo Bag’. Lisa Godson.
    • 08. ‘Sodium Vapour Lamp’. Laura De Búrca.