Since 1972 Irish Contract Seating (ICS Furniture) nestled in the heart of the little village of Dromod in County Leitrim, have been quietly designing and crafting beautiful bespoke furniture for places of worship right across Ireland, the UK, Italy, France, the US and Australia. The niche market that the company caters for has meant that ICS have stayed off the radar for many years but 2018 saw the company name and designs being broadcast into sitting rooms across Ireland and the rest of the world during the Pope’s visit to Knock.
As Pope Francis entered the Apparition Chapel in Knock on that historic morning back in August 2018, he took his seat for a moment of silent prayer and the nation sat in silence to watch. The Pope was seated on a specially commissioned chair designed by Gavin Duignan of ICS Furniture. For many weeks the project was quietly worked on by the skilled craftsmen on the production floor in Dromod. Gavin delivered the chair himself to Knock in the days leading up to the visit, calling it “One of the proudest moments of my career to date”
The company was started by Gavin’s father Charlie Duignan and still operates out of the same premises. Now employing 18 staff members the company have completed over 3000 projects to date including the complete seating refurbishment of Knock Basilica in 2016, St Patricks Cathedral, Christchurch Cathedral as well as bespoke pieces for St Patricks Cathedral New York, Notre Dame and Ground Zero. Gavin commented “Just before Christmas we completed our first bespoke seating project in Rome and we are also in the process of finalising a project for 200 bespoke chairs and an altar which will be going out to Washington in March”Seating design has remained at the very heart of the business and designs have changed to meet the changing needs of their current customers and their new customer base as the company diversifies into seating for public places, schools and conference facilities. It is one such design that has just been named as a finalist for the Irish Design Institute Awards 2018. The ICON 40 chair was picked from over 350 entries to the competition. “It’s a great achievement to have been chosen as finalist amongst your peers. For 2 years we researched, prototyped and tested the ICON 40 chair. It has recently achieved the FIRA BS which is an industry standard so that the final customer knows that the chair is fit for purpose and will be able to withstand the general abuse that seating can get in public places. For the chair to be also nominated for an Irish Design Institute award means that the ICON 40 now ticks all the boxes for both functionality and aesthetic appeal”
So for now we must “sit tight” (pardon the pun!) The best is yet to come for this small family owned business in Leitrim in many ways over the course of 2019 and beyond.
The Irish Design awards 2018 will take place in Dublin on January 24th