David Irwin is an industrial designer driven by a curiosity for how and why things are made. For Irwin, design ideas grow from a desire to assign purpose to both traditional and contemporary manufacturing processes.

Originally from Northern Ireland, Irwin was drawn to Northumbria University in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, by its reputation for hands-on teaching and a holistic approach to 3-D design.

In 2007, he was awarded the New Designers Peter Walker Award for Innovation in Furniture Design with his final project, a steam-bent timber frame chair. The Jed chair gave a contemporary twist to the traditional aesthetic of a lounge chair by utilising the inherent properties of timber through steam bending and natural soap flakes as a finish, to create very few environmental disadvantages. The chair also caught the eye of Bethan Gray, then Design Director at Habitat, who thought it would work well within the Habitat collection, giving David his first taste of the manufacture and retail process.

In 2010, Irwin completed a post-graduate fellowship in the Designers in Residence Program at Northumbria’s School of Design, a program that furnishes workspace, equipment and mentoring to chosen graduates of the 3-D Design program. A year later, he founded his own studio in Newcastle, where he has continued to produce designs which combine strong conceptual thinking with a fundamental usefulness, resulting in simple, innovative and refined solutions to aid our daily lives.

"I suppose the satisfaction I get from seeing an idea make the jump off paper and into reality is the reason I became a designer."- David Irwin.

The Narin Folding Chair for Case was awarded the prestigious Design Guild Mark Award in 2017.


David Irwin born in Northern Ireland
Studied Three Dimensional Design at Northumbria University
Graduated Northumbria University
New Designers, London
Completed fellowship on the Designers in Residence Programme at Northumbria’s School of Design
Started design studio in Newcastle Upon Tyne
Launches Hardy Chair for Another Country
Launches Narin Chair for Case
Launches Arca Wall Box, Trove Boxes and Tanso Range for Case


Winner of New Designers One Year on Award
Winner Best Interior Product, Design Event Mart
Awarded Homes & Gardens Young Designer of the Year
Winner Core77 Design Awards, Furniture & Lighting, Professional category
A’ Design Awards, Gold winner, Lighting Products and Lighting Projects category
Winner of Design Guild Mark Award for the Narin Chair

Design Milk interviews David Irwin

Back in July 2013, Design Milk visited David Irwin’s studio in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Products by David Irwin