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With new pop-ups arriving all the time – and with 2015’s year-long Irish Design programme having put the work of Ireland’s craftspeople centre-stage internationally – the country’s bricks-and-mortar retail scene in design, lifestyle and interiors is going through an exciting renaissance. But what of the online Irish shops diligently bringing the best of local and international design to the digital market? Here are six Ireland-based online design shops that savvy shoppers need to know about.
Though the physical store is based in the beautiful town of Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, Nordic Makers – as the name suggests – deals almost exclusively in items produced in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. Set up by two Denmark-born design fanatics in 2015, what began as a pop-up has ended up having staying power. They offer free shipping on orders from within Ireland, as well as within the EU if a shopper spends over €150, which you would be hard pressed not to do; between delicate Lars Rank ceramics, soft leather hanging straps by Mathilda Clahr and Herman Cph textiles, their online store always has something to delight.
Developed by an enterprising pair of brothers who love quality craft, Makers & Brothers is an online retail space with a simple aim. Their clear-eyed focus on the important things – quality, functionality and beauty – is as apparent in the stripped-back aesthetic of the website as it is in every item for sale, making it a refreshing oasis to visit among the incessant noise of the internet. As well as curating a selection of items already in existence, Makers & Brothers works with Irish and international makers of the highest standard to produce items exclusive to their store, such as the Three Legged Stool by furniture designer James Carroll.
The April & The Bear web store is based in Portobello, Dublin, but the cool, lovingly curated items chosen by owner Siobhan Lam would look equally at home in a minimalist Copenhagen apartment or eclectic Brooklyn brownstone. There’s definitely a sense of industrial-chic running through many of the pieces here, with lots of matte metals, iron-wire and black. But unusual and even odd items add a light, whimsical touch, like dinosaur necklaces and cute heart-shaped key rings of cats professing ‘I hate you the least’.
This online store, run by multi-award-winning design blogger Diana Valentine, is relatively new on the scene, having been established in 2015. But it has already made a name for itself as the go-to place to find boho-minimalist interior items since it was featured in several Irish publications, including House and Home, Ireland’s highest-selling home design magazine. The stock here is cutting-edge and international, with Scandinavian and fair-trade textiles, clean-lined furniture, decorative accent items and more, and all at reasonable prices.
Hippenings may officially be a party supplies store – offering the committed bridesmaid a one-stop-shop for lightning-bolt shaped piñatas, Kate Spade New York ‘Just Married’ decals and balloons filled with confetti – but this fun shop, established by the editor of one of Ireland’s biggest bridal magazines, also stocks incredibly sweet stationery, gifts and homeware items. This is the place to go for things you want, rather than things you need; expect to find items like mini-disco-ball LED lights, lilac earbuds and gym bags inscribed with the words ‘After this we’re getting pizza’.
Another firmly established venture that started out as a pop-up shop, Dust interiors and lifestyle store began in the period townhouse basement of one of its two owners. A few years later – after a stint as a bricks-and-mortar store on Dublin’s Grantham Street – the duo have built up a popular online retail space filled with home accessories, wall art, furniture, lighting and more, as well as a sought-after interior design service. A regular feature in Irish interiors magazines, Dust can be relied on for on-trend items with a touch of eclectic glamour.