Denise O’Connor and Bo Concept
Denise O’Connor and Bo Concept
When you visit the show make sure to check out Denise O’Connor’s design for the Bo Concept roomset. If you have Jerry Seinfeld’s number and a coffee for her when you’re there you could also have a new best friend!
What led you to get into your chosen career?
I always wanted to be an architect, apart from a brief desire to be an air hostess after a flight to the States when I was six.
I worked in London for eight years after graduating and my last job there was with a company who combined architecture and interior design. Much of the work was for developers working on residential developments – we were involved in everything from the layouts of the apartments right down to the fit out of the sales and marketing suite. This was such a turning point for me because we were involved in advising the developer on what kind of customer was involved to creating the perfect environment for them to live in – it was all about the end user. I had always wanted to work for myself. My dad had his own business so it wasn’t something I was afraid of. It seemed like a natural progression to eventually have my own company. When I moved back to Dublin after having my first child I realized that there was a gap in the Irish market to offer a similar service to what I had been doing in London so Optimise Design was born.
How do you “switch off”?
Yoga. I took it up nine years ago after my youngest son was born and just loved it. I try to go at least once a week and really miss it when I don’t go. It’s fantastic for managing stress and is a great way to workout too.
Have you ever met a person who you were in awe of?
I love the work of Patricia Urquiola and had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year at an event. She’s a Spanish-born architect based in Milan. Her work is both forward thinking and brave, yet beautifully crafted and elegant. Her training as an architect has led to so many other collaborations and design opportunities. Her work spans, buildings, interiors and furniture.
I’m a firm believer that architecture shouldn’t stop bluntly with the design of the building but should permeate all aspects from the interiors to the components that fill it. Ultimately the design of buildings is about the people who occupy them and so when designing them we need to consider all of the elements that will affect their environment.
What inspires you?
I draw inspiration from everywhere and anywhere from radio interviews to shop window displays. We tend to try to collaborate on our design projects and have group creative meetings where everyone can chip in on any of the early stages of the project. It’s a great way to familiarize everyone on all of our jobs and keeps the process fun and fresh. Everyone is encouraged to offer inspiration from things they encounter outside the office. We have an ‘Outside World’ theme in our weekly meetings where we share things that caught our eye, it’s a fun way to bring new ideas into the business.
Is there a person you would love to meet?
Where is your favourite place you have visited?
I adore Sweden – I visit every year on my birthday I’ts become a tradition and it’s the most beautiful inspiring and restful pace
What is your greatest weakness?
I’m a bit of a softy.
TV or music?
What is your guilty pleasure
I love fashion and confess to the occasional purchase for my wardrobe.
What was your dream project to work on?
Being a presenter for Design Doctors, the TV show for RTE was great fun. I’m always open to trying new things and it was a totally different world to what I was used to. It was wonderful and challenging at the same time. I learnt a huge amount and it challenged me to think about design in new ways which was fantastic.
What really winds you up?
Bad customer service and experience.
What could you not live without?
What gives you a good old belly laugh?
Favourite Movie of all time?
Star Wars. I must have watched it hundreds of times as a child and I still love it. I know passages of text off by heart.
Most rewarding project you have worked on?
There have been lots of great moments but being asked to put a paint collection together for Dulux was wonderful. This is something that I have always wanted to do and it was a fantastic project to be involved in.
Visit Denise on Stands M16 & M52 and she will be appearing on the House and Home Interior & Design Theatre on Monday from 11.30am
Posted in: Blog