Off-grid artist studio pops up on Galway Rocks

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Escape to this off-grid artist studio on the Irish island of Inis Oírr

For the aptly named Drop Everything cultural biennial, a perfect pod has arisen on the rocky promontory of Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Aran Islands, off the west coast of Galway.

Artists and designers have the opportunity to get away from it all during week-long summer residencies in a new artist pod, set in a position that promises to inspire creativity. Created by designer Jordan Ralph and his team, Studio Drop was originally commissioned by arts organization Drop Everything, for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture (which has been extended until 2021 due to the pandemic).

The vision of a boat builder

Ralph – an architecture, interior and product designer, whose practice focuses on sustainable processes – spent time with local boat builders in Inis Oírr for inspiration. Galvanized while assisting the restoration of the Love Galway Hooker fishing boat, Ralph modified his Studio Drop design based on traditional techniques used in Hooker constructions, designed to cope with the harsh North Atlantic weather conditions encountered on the local coast. Ralph channeled this robust, element-ready typology into Studio Drop, resulting in an experimental project with a one-of-a-kind build.

The setting of Studio Drop when it was under construction, overlooking the headlands of Inis Oírr

A wooden frame supports a tapered wooden structure, resembling the local Martello towers: small fortresses that dot the coastline. Studio Drop also looks like a contemporary version of a bell tower – a low-rise, beehive-shaped stone dwelling commonly associated with the southwest coast of Ireland.

Cylindrical in structure, the small studio has a window framing the vast sea beyond. Surrounded by kitchen areas and outdoor seating, the pod invites the outdoors indoors, while providing a private and meditative space for designing, thinking, reading, writing, and developing ideas.

Inside, the nautical inspiration continues. A hammock-style daybed is made from a trawl net washed up on the shore during a winter storm, salvaged by a local fisherman. An enveloping bench reflects the circularity of a crow’s nest.

Drop Everything: a liberating antidote to confinement

Opening at the summer solstice, June 21, Studio Drop arrives, after a year of variable interiority, with the promise of an invigorating sea air and distant horizons. The Summer of Creative Residencies will run until August 2021.

Intended for a life beyond Galway, Studio Drop was designed to be transferable to other locations. Watch this place. §

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