Design/life: Conor Kelly, Furniture Designer

Snug Dining Table & Bench featured with Ceadogan Rug.

Conor Kelly has worked in furniture-making and designing for almost 20 years.

What’s your background?

I’ve been working in furniture-making and designing for almost 20 years.

Myself and my partner, Nell, started Snug when we were building our own home in Wicklow and discovered there was a gap in the market for contemporary Irish-made furniture.

What’s a typical work day like for you?

It can vary, which is the great thing about working for yourself. 

I may be at meetings with customers, or in with my suppliers choosing suitable timber, but really what I love most is the uninterrupted time spent making the furniture.

Our product range is constantly evolving, so a lot of my time is spent brainstorming new ideas, with lots of sketching late at night.

Crafted in ash and birch ply this table and chair design, left, was part of the Irish Design 2015 tour Liminal. Table: €425,

Tell us about a recent project or design/ favourite project or design you have worked on?

I recently designed a new copper and ash table for the ‘Shape the Future’ exhibition in The National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny.

I wanted to incorporate new material into our work and had always loved the russet tones and the soft reflective quality of copper as a contrast to the bleached out tones of the timber I often use.

Being part of ‘Liminal’ was definitely a highlight for us as well, as it was the flagship exhibition for Irish Design 2015.

It was a real honour to be part of something so special. We designed a new Ply Bench and Chair for the exhibition with both pieces injecting a playful aesthetic into traditional kitchen seating.

Crafted in ash and birch ply this design by Conor Kelly and Nell Roddy of Snug Design wowed New York, as part of the Irish Design 2015 tour Liminal, revealing the innovation and skills of our best makers. Now you can own one of your own, Ä425,

What’s your design style?

It’s quite difficult to define our style but ultimately, a lot of our furniture is simple in structure and we believe everything we make has function and beauty inherent in the end result.

What/Who inspires your work?

As all the work we produce is made in our small workshop in the Wicklow Mountains, the changing light, colour and textures of the landscape are a source of constant inspiration.

What’s your favourite trend at the moment (if you have any)?

I tend not to be too led by specific trends really, otherwise everything becomes too uniform and doesn’t allow for originality and creativity.

Snug’s Ark chair.

What’s your most treasured possession?

Myself and Nell are expecting our first child in a few weeks so I guess that will be my most treasured possession!

Who would be your favourite designer, or style inspiration?

I really admire the work of British designer Sebastian Cox, who works with coppiced timber sourced from cultivated woodland. His furniture is lightweight and beautiful.

What would be a dream project for you to work on?

It’d be exciting to work on a larger scale project, perhaps something more community-based.

Shelving unit by Snug.

Have you any design tips for us?

Not to chase trends excessively, and be true to your own aesthetic preferences. 

All the work we produce is made in our small workshop in the Wicklow Mountains.....


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