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Square Moon on the Lake Isle of Inishfree

Square Moon on the Lake Isle of Inishfree
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inis1Shindesign_2015The idea of a temporary installation on the famed Lake Isle of Inishfree to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of W B Yeats was bound to a make waves around the world. And so it proved to be, with more than 100 entries in the design competition from 33 countries. I was a member of the jury chaired by Michael McGarry, now Professor of Architecture at Queen’s University, Belfast. As he put it, ‘the competition presented something of a paradox or perhaps an inspired dilemma, the addition of an artefact … to an imagined island’. We selected as winner a simple scaled frame that would be positioned on the densely wooded island to act as a foil during the day and a luminous lantern at night. The winning entry, entitled ‘Square Moon’, was submitted by shindesignworks, an Anglo-Korean design team based in London and Daegu, South Korea, and headed by architects Yong ho Shin and John Randle. There was a glitch, however, as the architects informed organizers, the Institute of Technology Sligo, Yeats2015, the Model Arts Centre, Hazelwood Demesne and Sligo County Council, that they couldn’t meet the timetable. Undaunted, the competition sponsors resorted to Irish ingenuity – a prototype of the scheme, in steel, was fabricated in Sligo and erected on a jetty facing Inishfree (and framing it), in time for Yeats Day. In the meantime, work is under way (also in Sligo) on the originally specified lightweight aluminium version of ‘Square Moon’, with John Randall of shindesignworks acting as advisor. This will be positioned on the island, as intended from the outset, for a period in September. For more information on Yeats2015, visit www.yeats2015.com.
By Frank McDonald

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