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Q & A with Kevin Corcoran of Concrete Forest

Q & A with Kevin Corcoran of Concrete Forest

This week in our Q & A Series we meet Kevin Corcoran of Concrete Forest. A contemporary Irish homeware brand combining clean Danish aesthetics with raw urban materials. You can check out his beautiful tea light holders here


So what is working for yourself like?

Simply put, I love it. But unfortunately I still have a day job as a graphic designer as Concrete Forest only launched last winter. The reality is that, like so many designers and makers, I still need a predictable income. It means that when I do work in the evenings and at weekends I try to work smart so that I can spend time with my family. Ultimately my goal is to be fully self employed and as a designer I've always wanted to work on my own brand instead of the client's one.

Concrete Forest Tea Light Holders 

Did you always want to be a designer/ maker?

I grew up in a creative environment with art and craft of some sort in every corner of the house. I knew from an early age I wanted to work in a creative field and was drawn to design by the time I was finishing school. In college I actually took a different route and studied geology and environment sciences. I learned a lot about the make up of stone and sand, something I draw upon now everyday in the workshop! But after looking at my diagrams a lecturer jokingly asked me why was I not studying art. A year later I was doing just that!


How long does it take to make one of your Tealight Holders?

From the raw materials to a finished boxed product it probably takes a bit too long, but I really enjoy the process. Over time I aim to make the process more efficient but it's important to me that I stay involved and very hands on. In the early days of Concrete Forest I tried using power tools to speed things up... which didn't end well and I ended up in hospital!


Were there many iterations before you got to the final product?

Yes, quite a few actually! There were many forms but many more mix designs. When I first started working in concrete I naively thought it was just powder, sand and whatever amount water you felt like chucking in. The more I learned about the subject I realised that with just a few ingredients the amount of combinations grow exponentially. I must admit I fell down the rabbit hole and found myself on some very dull websites...


There are lots of spinning plates, what do you find to be the most challenging part of being a designer/ maker & promoter/ seller of your products?

Time. I love experimenting and developing new prototypes but with balancing a day job, family life (my wife and I have recently had our first baby) and Concrete Forest I really have to focus on the tasks at hand and plan my hours. I'm notorious for getting absorbed in little details and before I know it, it's dark outside!


When you're not designing what do you like to do?

Catch up with friends and explore parts of Ireland I haven't been to before. We all have stories of meeting tourists who in just a few short weeks have seen more of the country than we ever have! It's all too easy to overlook what's on your doorstep.


Is there anything next in the pipeline?

I am currently working on a bespoke range of products for an award winning gallery and a line of homeware for a local restaurant.

Who is your favourite designer/ influence?

That's a hard one, and something I guess that evolves over time. My first favourite designer would have to be Poul Henningsen. His PH lamp has left a lasting impression on me and opened my eyes to the world of design. Currently though I'm fascinated with the work of Bjarke Ingels, his architectural projects are amazing and I love learning about the origins of his concepts. For instance, A handball court where the ceiling's curvature is based on the math behind a ball being thrown through the air - amazing! And I thought I was bad for falling down rabbit holes!


And finally, Barry's or Lyons?
Barry's - I literally packed a bag full of it when I moved abroad and used to stock up whenever I was home. But naturally, a cup of tea is never complete without at least three Digestive biscuits!



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