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London Guide: The Designer

For creative inspiration, there are few cities more exciting than London, but it’s pretty vast. In the third of our five-part series, we asked a handful of design-minded Irish folk, who have embedded themselves there, to take us on a tour of their favourite haunts.


MEET – Irenie Cossey
DESIGNER & ILLUSTRATOR @_iren.ie

After graduating from DIT’s spatial and environmental design course in 1996, it was “London or the Long Mile Road” for me, so I packed my bags, and I’ve been here ever since. These days, I live in Islington with my young family. We love it – Upper Street has such a lovely village feel. Professionally, the city is so stimulating. I do miss home at times, though. If only Lon-blin existed, the world would be a perfect place.

I know I’m biased as I live in Islington, but for me it’s still one of the most exciting areas for interior design finds. I love TwentyTwentyone on Upper Street; always brilliant for interesting homewares, new furniture and design pieces by existing and new designers. They also host great exhibitions and sales at their Amwell Street warehouse. Coexistence, on the same street, is run by Mary Wiggin, a good friend of mine, but that aside, I believe she has the best eye and knowledge in the business. While Two Columbia Road (above) is a gallery specialising in a broad range of collectable furniture, design, art and photography. I have bought some really great pieces here over the years, including original artwork.

For children’s design, make Molly Meg (above and featured image) on Essex Road your first port of call. Finally, someone who stocks great kids furniture, toys and party accessories, all in one.

When it comes to dining out, you’ll find my bias coming in once again. I travel mostly by bike, so there is a 40-50 minute cycle time limit to my radius. Top of the list is Primeur, a local converted garage on Petherton Road. The sign above the place still reads “Barnes Motors” in homage to the building’s former life. It’s a lovely place to sit in the summer, when they pull back the heavy folding doors all the way to open the restaurant onto the leafy street. Bistrotheque on Wadeson Street is my favourite for a birthday splurge and knock-out cocktails. Then for pared-back pizza perfection, it has to be Story Deli (above) on Calvert Avenue. This rustic little café is minimally decorated, with a small menu offering simple dishes with ingredients sourced from the neighbouring greengrocers, and some of the best wafer-thin bases you’ll ever taste.

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