Joseph Walsh, Irish designer, magician of the wood

Enignum chair of Joseph WalshWhen I traveled to Ireland, I had the privilege to visit Joseph Walsh Studio*, and discover his work in real life. Bliss.

Joseph Walsh, Irish designerThe two main words that come to mind when I first encountered this work are an extreme "sensitiveness" and "strength". It seems that this designer has a 6th sense and a deep understanding of the material, which enables him create his unique pieces of furniture.

Nature is important and respect for the material, which is at the beginning of the process; where we come from, where we are going to, it is this natural cycle that has formed the material and we have to respect it. Respect for nature has also inspired the title of each series including Equinox and Erosion.

At the beginning of the process Joseph creates drawings by hand and then a series of models are created. The final works, mostly created in Ash, are sculpted and shaped to create the form and Joseph carefully monitors each step of the process. Like clay modeling, Joseph Walsh is directing the movement of the wood.

2008 marked an important evolution in Joseph Walsh’s work, as it was the beginning of this current body of work, called Formations and Layering. This includes the Enignum series of work in which the wood is recreated into free form compositions.

Today Joseph Walsh works in collaboration with his international team of makers from Japan, France, Germany and Argentina, as well as Ireland to create one of a kind works for clients around the world. The workshop continually develops new processes and explores new materials – they are currently making a series of works in Kilkenny Limestone – and they are also developing concepts for forthcoming exhibitions. I discovered a model of an installation, which was filling a vertical space with an incredible lightness, for an exhibition in 2014.

by Isabelle Brigout
* Joseph Walsh Studio may be visited by appointment only
Images by Andrew Bradley / courtesy of Joseph Walsh Studio

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