GMIT Letterfrack unveils new Design Award with Farrell Furniture

Gerry Murray is first winner of Conor Farrell Award designed by lecturer Jeremy Madden


Press Office

Date Article Written: 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

GMIT Letterfrack and Farrell Furniture (Co Louth) are proud to announce that Gerry Murray, a final year (2020) student on the Bachelor of Science in Furniture Design & Manufacture, is the first winner of the annual Conor Farrell Design Award for Excellence in Design (2020).

Gerry Murray is a Galway native whose grandfather was a wheelwright and his father, a cabinet maker.  The love of designing, crafting, and making runs deep in his family. Gerry created the Signature Collection with the Lounge Chair #352 the centre piece.

The simple silhouettes of the #352 Lounge Chair hides well the complex geometry and jointing techniques needed to construct it. The classic low-slung lines bring together beech and leather. The materials are from trusted sources with impeccable provenance which will not only ensure longevity but also aesthetically pleasing ageing. With care and attention, this study in craftsmanship and engineering will last a lifetime.

“The standard of the competition was outstanding with entries submitted and assessed from students in all years,” says Paul Leamy, Head of GMIT Letterfrack campus.  “The vision is to challenge students’ creativity and hone their skills while contributing to the body of design work in GMIT Letterfrack every year. Conceived by Farrell Furniture, the award remembers a loved one and gives back to the new designers that are coming into the industry. The award was initiated in the memory of Conor Farrell and his love of design and work in the furniture industry.”

Paul Farrell of Farrell Furniture says “A significant part of Conor’s legacy is the commercial success he helped Farrell Furniture achieve through his modern design of the Adapt and Elements office furniture ranges and his collaboration with Enterprise Ireland.  Collectively, Conor’s vision and Enterprise Ireland’s support helped Farrell grow at home and abroad, sustaining over 100 jobs at its manufacturing facility in Ardee, Co Louth (

The award trophy was designed and made by Jeremy Madden, lecturer at GMIT, who explains the concept “It is set in a windswept hillside with a lone tree battling against the elements. The tree is a beacon of brilliance, simple and delicate as it manages to survive.  The solid sterling silver enforces this jewel with strength as it battles with adversity tortured by the wind. The tree overcomes adversity in the open as it is on a tapered side and an undulating fall to the front. The branches are swept by the winds with exposure to the elements but it survives and we capture a moment on this landscape. The sandblasted textures of the oak match this original feel of the hillside.”

For further information about programmes in the GMIT Letterfrack National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design & Technology, see: or email

About Farrell Furniture
For almost 60 year, the Farrell Furniture team have been designing and supplying quality office, residential contract and student accommodation furniture, consistently meeting only the highest standards in design and production. Founded in 1961, the company is now in its third generation and continue to deliver customised furniture solutions, commercial and residential, to organisations of all sizes in both public and private sectors. The company’s mission is to create value for all stakeholders by exceeding our customer expectations through Design, Manufacture and Delivery of the best quality furniture solutions in residential and business markets. See:

About GMIT Letterfrack
GMIT has delivered third level education degree programmes in the areas of furniture design and wood technology in its Letterfrack campus since 1987.  A designated National Centre of Excellence in Furniture Design and Technology, its mission is to provide a dynamic, educational environment to support students on a path of development towards creativity and expertise in furniture and wood-based technologies. Due to its reputation and award-winning students, GMIT Letterfrack graduates are highly sought after within the industry.


Issued by Regina Daly, GMIT Communications & Press Officer, GMIT, Dublin Road, Galway.
Tel 091-742826/0879618355 (m)

Galway-Mayo IT, IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT working together to become a TU for the West and North-West of Ireland

#352 Lounge Chair, Gerry Murray's winning entry. [Photograph by Gerry Murray].

#352 Lounge Chair, Gerry Murray’s winning entry. [Photograph by Gerry Murray].

#352 Lounge Chair, Gerry Murray's winning entry. [Photograph by Gerry Murray].Gerry Murray, 2020 winner of the Conor Farrell Design Award supported by Farrell Furniture and GMIT Letterfrack. Gerry is pictured with the award trophy designed by Jeremy Madden, GMIT lecturer and furniture designer. [Photograph by Dara Murray].