There’ll be over 16 free events, delicious food stalls plus informative talks from Ireland’s leading creative talent as Design Pop returns

Cork’s food and design festival, Design Pop, returns for its second year from 28-30 August.

The festival will include three pop-up pavilions, an Irish Design Shop, exhibitions, a furniture showcase, and discussions from special guests MASER, WhyDesign Founder Kim Mackenzie-Doyle.

There will also be over over 16 free events and two ticketed special events at the festival, which takes place in various locations across Cork; Thompson House, Elizabeth Fort, Emmett Place, and Blackrock Castle.

The intention of Design POP has always been to celebrate the incredible talent in architecture, design, and food and drink producers in Ireland, and now it is more important than ever to celebrate creativity, collaboration, and support our local talent.

This year’s theme for the festival is Resilience, which will be explored through the pavilions, talks, and conversations, happening over the weekend. The programme features over 16 free events, and two special ticketed events.

At the core of the festival, Design POP brings together top Irish design teams to create pop-up installation structures, which will go on display in various outdoor locations across Cork city. Each designer is paired with a Cork-based food or drink producer to create a bespoke space which the public are invited to explore and interact with.

The pairings for the 2020 edition are:

1) Ciarán Meade and Mark Cronin from Bobo’s Cafe team up with computational designer Mark Horgan to create a pavilion at Elizabeth Fort.

2) The Crawford Gallery Café joins forces with a collective of young architects and designers for a pavilion at Emmett place.

3) Blackrock Castle and Observatory team up with Cork Architectural School for a pavilion at Blackrock Castle.

Shane O’Driscoll


  • The launch night, Friday night, 28 August, will feature talks and discussions with guests The Project Twins – the Irish based graphic art duo, James and Michael Fitzgerald, who will speak about their studio and some of their interesting projects to date. Founding Director of The Glucksman, Fiona Kearney, will share her insight on running a leading museum for creative learning and access to the visual arts.
  • A Saturday morning creative workshop for children, suitable for ages 4-12, with plant-based food company Banana Melon.
  • Founder of WhyDesign Kim Mackenzie-Doyle will lead a panel discussion about gender equality in design, with guests, Head of Innovation at VHI, Lorna Ross, award-winning designer and Creative Director at Deloitte Digital, Claire Dowling, and Head of Design Thinking at Bank of Ireland, Lesley Tully.
  • Dublin based architecture and design studio Studio Anois will speak about their studio and projects to date.
  • The talk entitled ‘Creative Process Behind Launching a New Brand’ will feature discussions with guests Graham Vard (Billion), Ernest Cantillion (Kinsale Gin and Red Earl Whiskey), Tony Speight (West Cork Coffee) and Clonakilty Black Pudding.
  • Saturday evening, Darragh Breathnach of DUA – Design Urbanism Architecture takes to the hot seat to discuss his studio and projects to date, followed by chats with renowned contemporary artist MASER, followed by a Q&A.
  • On Sunday the festival welcomes many more special guests from a food and design background. Artist Kari Cahill will provide a demonstration of her artistic process.
  • The Visual Loop’s Kate O’Neill will moderate a panel discussion on ‘Interior design and finding new ways of diversifying’, with Niamh Mc Cabe (Spacey Studios), Cathy Angelini (Flamingo Interior Design) and Lisa Marconi (Dust Design).
  • Photographer Brid O’Donovan will be joined by William Murray (Currabinny Foods) to discuss ‘Food Style and the Creative Process Behind It’.
  • Simon Roche (Bureau), printmaker and visual artist Shane O’ Driscoll, and Robin Foley (Hurrah Hurrah) host ‘Graphic Design, Print Art, and finding new ways of diversifying’.
  • On Sunday night, a talk with all the designers and collaborators that created the pavilions for Design POP will close out the festival.

Thompson House will also be home to a pop-up Irish Design Shop for the duration of the festival, showcasing some of Ireland’s best handcrafted textiles, prints, artworks and much more. At the festival HQ, you’ll also find The Glucksman’s ‘New Light’ exhibition of eight different poster-based artworks, and finally, The Milking Stool exhibition featuring 13 Irish furniture designers. These stunning furniture pieces will be sold off by silent auction during the festival.

All events are free with the exception of the Why Design panel discussion (€6) and the MASER event (€10). Tickets are available on or EventBrite and tickets include one complimentary drink.

Health & safety

Abiding by the current covid-19 regulations, each event will be 45 minutes long and restricted to a capacity of 50 in the venue at all times. This capacity number may change in line with the government guidelines and phases. After each 45-minute event, organisers have a team to clean and sanitize the seating and venue to have it ready for the next speaker or panel discussion. The seats will be set out in accordance with the social distancing guidelines. There will be a number of sanitizing stations throughout the venue and organisers strongly encourage everyone who enters the venue to wear a mask.

Full details on Design Pop, 28-30 August, can be found at