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Design guru joins OPW for webinar on progress and perservation through design

The Office of Public Works welcomes a host of Ireland’s most talented design proponents to this free event from 11am – 1pm this Thursday, October 22nd

vInnovation Week was designed to spotlight the work of public service organisations in this area, with the OPW hosting a free event as part of its own celebratory programme of activity.

Innovation Week was designed to spotlight the work of public service organisations in this area, with the OPW hosting a free event as part of its own celebratory programme of activity.


For almost two centuries, the design functions of the OPW have influenced many aspects of life in Ireland.

Today, whether its pioneering landscape architecture that supports biodiversity and healthy ecosystems; the celebration of indigenous creativity through Ireland’s World Trade Fair Expo 2021 or the continuous development of smart flood management schemes, the OPW’s innovative work in the area of design continues to impact the everyday lives of the public it serves.

Responsively reimagined as a series of online events, Innovation Week was designed to spotlight the work of public service organisations in this area, with the OPW hosting a free event as part of its own celebratory programme of activity.

[Designed to celebrate Innovation Week, guests are encouraged to register at]

Giving guests an insight into how ‘Progress and Preservation through Design’, will transform our future, this free-to-attend webinar will be hosted by some of Ireland’s most talented designers and architects, including internationally recognised Irish design guru Lorna Ross. Having travelled the world holding creative leadership positions with a number of innovative groups, Ross’s colourful career spans over 25 years across a range of sectors from textiles and technology to healthcare, where she’s currently addressing some of the biggest challenges facing society today.

Through this informative free event, the OPW is inviting guests to embark on a journey of discovery with experiences from Clonakilty to Dubai, and with unique insights into the creative minds and projects shaping our world.

Announcing the details of this free webinar, Patrick O’Donovan TD, Minister of State, with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) says; “Despite the many difficulties we may be experiencing today it is a good time to think about making changes that will benefit our future. Design and innovation are central to that ability-to shape the world around us. We must not lose sight of the many possibilities that creativity, knowledge and resolve can deliver and the OPW are delighted to present some of the fascinating work taking place across the country, and beyond, that demonstrate this experience.”

In her talk Crafting Our Future; Lessons learnt from design-led innovation in complex systems’, Lorna Ross will share observations from her career working on how human-centred design offers a unique mechanism by which we might speculate on our possible future together, highlighting the importance of conscientious design to our recovery.

Lorna Ross, chief innovation officer, VHI Health & Wellness Group
Lorna Ross, chief innovation officer, VHI Health & Wellness Group

Commenting on her involvement in this exciting free event, Lorna Ross says; “Design has always been about change, it is possibly the single most effective way we have to shape the future we hope to live.”

Now based in Cork, as chief innovation officer at VHI Health & Wellness Group, where she’s responsible for leading out the company’s clinical service transformation and digital health strategy, Ross went on to say; “We feel like we are experiencing an unprecedented level of change right now, certainly in living memory. The risk is we retreat and defend tradition. We need to do the exact opposite, to consciously process this change as a time of opportunity and transformation.”

As we look to the future, designers are also playing a significant role in how we interpret our past and celebrate our heritage. Bringing the OPW’s national monuments to life for a whole new audience, interpretative practice across the estate now employs the greater use of sensory displays including imagery, illustration, colour and audio which are brought together to create an unforgettable visitor experience.

During his presentation ‘Innovation and historical interpretation’, Frank Shalvey, responsible for OPW National Monuments & Visitor Services, will explore how innovation, applied to historical interpretation at its best has made Ireland’s rich history and heritage more accessible to all.

Illustrating how a more sustainable future was achieved when creative minds combined environmental concerns, human needs and architecture during the design of the Backweston campus in Co Kildare, Ciaran O’Connor, state architect at the OPW, will address how this new model will reduce the carbon footprint of future projects.

Award-winning architect and urban designer, Giulia Vallone will discuss how her work in transforming flood management engineering solutions has been creating joyful public spaces for visitors and citizen to enjoy during these difficult times. With the needs of the local community at the forefront of her deigns, Giulia Vallone will bring webinar guests through an engaging presentation on the importance of ‘Design for communities: Transforming engineering solutions.’

Commenting on her involvement, Giulia saya; “I am passionate about taking a creative approach to traditional spaces and making them work for the way we want to live today, while also maintaining their unique character and heritage, so I’m delighted to give guests an insight into the process of design and how these spaces we all enjoy are created.”

Presentations will conclude with a brief Q&A session, with guests encouraged to reserve their slot for this inspiring free event at

The webinar running order is available on Innovation Week Webinar.