Cillian Ó Súilleabháin is a designer and furniture-maker based in Co. Dublin, Ireland. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he began his professional life as a mechanical engineer, but retained a curiosity for the aesthetics of form and function. His transition to a career in design commenced in 2007 when he started a two-year apprenticeship as a cabinet-maker with Spencer & Woods in Dublin. He then progressed to working with noted Irish furniture designer/maker Stephen O’Briain at his design studio in Carlow. It is there he honed his skills as a maker and began to investigate and develop his unique style. In late 2011 he set up his own studio, Cillian Ó Súilleabháin Furniture, and, working mainly to commission, continued to design and hand-make his minimal, geometric furniture.
In 2015, Cillian was named the Design and Craft Council of Ireland’s FutureMaker of the Year. Also that year, he was selected for PORTFOLIO, the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland’s Critical Selection 2015-2016, and is one of 22 Irish-makers who “represent the leading edge of contemporary craft and design in a world-class context.”
Cillian’s work has been featured at a variety of galleries and shows in Ireland and the UK; including Weathering, Maison et Objet, Paris and TENT London; the Hunt Museum, Limerick; the RDS Crafts Competition and MADE London. He was a participant in the Irish Wall collaboration for the Carlow Arts Festival 2013 and was subsequently invited to China, Turkey and Nepal by the International Wood Culture Society to be involved in the annual World Wood Day Collaborative Projects.
Cillian Ó Súilleabháin Furniture has featured in numerous publications, including Wallpaper*, AD Architectural Digest and Elle Decoration, who selected him as one of three Irish designers they’re “tipping for the top in 2016”. His work is in public and private collections in Ireland, UK, USA and China.
My work is concerned with man’s relationship with his environment. I am interested in man’s search to understand the world around him and how he comes to stamp his presence on it. Influenced by my background as an engineer, it is mathematics, physics and the scientific method which inform my making.
As a furniture-maker working in wood, I apply strict geometries and a minimal aesthetic to my chosen, organic medium. Through an extensive design process, I pare back complex ideas to a bare essence; searching for a purity of form. Through this process I am exploring the tension between the formal mathematics and the organic material. It is this application of stricture, precision and process which reflects my world view.
At its heart, my work reflects my own beliefs in quality, integrity and the craft tradition. The realisation of my designs requires an unforgiving accuracy and a deep understanding of the material. I build depth through subtlety, contrast and repetition; the more it is considered the more my work gives back.
Selected Exhibitions & Shows
May 2016, Focus on Wood, Cill Rialaig Arts Centre, Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry.
Mar 2016, World Wood Day Collaboration, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Dec 2015, FORM Group Exhibition, Blackrock, Dublin.
Oct 2015, Made, One Marylebone, London.
Sept 2015, Ó @ Tent, Old Truman Brewery, Hanbury St. London.
June 2015, Side by Side, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris.
June 2015, Portfolio @ Solomon: Furniture, Solomon Gallery, Dublin.
Mar 2015, Side by Side, National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny.
Mar 2015, World Wood Day Collaboration, Eskisehir, Turkey.
Feb 2015, Weathering @ Maison et Objet, Paris.
Oct 2014, Made, One Marylebone, London.
Oct 2015, The Wallpaper* Apartment, 155 Sloane St., London.
Sept 2014, Weathering @ Tent, Old Truman Brewery, Hanbury St. London.
May 2014, Young, SO Fine Art Editions, 10 Anne St. Sth., Dublin 2.
Mar 2014, World Wood Day Collaboration, Xianyou Province, China.
Mar 2014 , Harmony Project Collaboration, Dongxiang, China.
Nov. 2013, Woods at Work, 15 Pembroke Street Lower, Dublin 2
Nov. 2013, Handmade in Britain, Chelsea Town Hall, London.
Oct. 2013, Made, One Marylebone, London.
June 2013, Wooden Stone-wall Collaboration, Carlow Arts Festival, Carlow.
April 2013, Design Island at Ideal Homes, RDS, Dublin.
Mar 2013, FutureMakers Exhibition, NCAD, Dublin.
Jan 2013, HOME at Showcase, RDS, Dublin.
Sept 2012, Design Island at Selfbuild, Citywest, Dublin.
June 2012, Éigse Carlow Arts Festival, Carlow.
Mar 2012, Festival of Irish Design, Project 51, Dublin.
Jan 2012 , Showcase, RDS Dublin.
Aug 2010, RDS National Crafts Competition, RDS, Dublin.
Dec 2010, FutureMakers Exhibition, Hunt museum, Limerick.