Architect and TV Presenter Dermot Bannon on his design philosophy, his favourite journey and why he’s switching to Hybrid with Volvo …
Your current state of mind? Hopeful, that we can be together again, that the vaccine will work. I see light at the end of the tunnel. I am also hopeful that we won’t forget some of the valuable lessons learned during the last year. If you weren’t an architect, what would you have been? I would have been a pilot. I love all machines that move, from aircraft to cars. I treated myself to a flying lesson for my 40th birthday and loved every second. Your design philosophy? I always try to put the person at the centre of every design. It needs to be an easy place to live/work in, it needs to have light to lift the spirit, and it needs to capture something of its place in the landscape.
Why do you think “omtanke” (considerateness) is the new “hygge”? Over the past year, a huge amount of options were taken away from us. We learned the value of each other, and the small things. We became reliant on one another. I hope that as we get back to a new normal, people and our environment will remain important to us, and we will give more consideration to the impact of our decisions on others and the world around us. Your most treasured possession? I can’t really think of anything that can’t be replaced, other than the people in my life … oh and my Eames chair!
Lots of light and sea views from the kitchen of one of Dermot’s recent projects
What does thinking again mean to you? It means questioning everything I do. When I design something and it works well, I always flip it on its head or move everything around, as this will either throw up further opportunities or confirm it was fine in the first place. I think it’s important to question, even if your gut tells you that you are right. The trait you admire in others? Being confident and able to say no. I can be a bit eager to please and tend to say yes most of the time. I find it refreshing when people are sure enough of themselves to say no to something and not feel they have let anyone down.
One of Dermot’s recent projects
The trait you dislike in others? I don’t think there are any. Years working with clients, at what can be a very stressful time in their lives, means you sometimes only see one side of the person, but it is one side – you have to be able to see beyond it to the complete person. Your greatest extravagance? My house! The hidden details – the corner-to-corner glazing, the terrazzo floor, the stone, natural timber – all the little things that were agonised over, that most people won’t see, but I do and I enjoy them every single day.
The living room in Dermot’s own house
Your favourite journey? I’m lucky to have travelled extensively around Ireland for work and there are some jawdropping routes. One of my favourites is the Healy Pass between Kenmare and Glengarriff – the first time ever the kids wanted to stop the car and take pictures of the view!
The Volvo XC90
The quality you most admire in a car? Design! When a car has the right proportions – which isn’t easy to achieve – the perfect amount of glass, bends, creases and curves, all in the right places, it can look like a piece of sculpture. Electric or diesel, solar or oil? Electric. I am making the switch to a Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid. I designed the charging point at home right at the beginning. We also installed a renewable heat pump in the house so we don’t use any fossil fuels.
The dining area in Dermot’s home
The values you hold dear? Respect – for each other, the environment and the places where we build. Your motto? Enjoy the moment. I used to live for exciting trips or projects in the future, without sometimes relishing the things that were happening right in front of me! How best do you like to enjoy nature? Sea swimming. I adore it, throughout the year. We are so lucky in this country to have an amazing coastline. Getting into that freezing cold water is my meditation.
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