Brendan Dunne (1916-1995)

Brendan Dunne room 1950

By the late 1940s and 1950s the Irish Times reported that there was a great deal that was good in contemporary furniture design. A number of designers such Brendan Dunne, John Maguire and Barney Heron made a great effort to be modern and with considerable success.

Dublin born, Brendan Dunne was a musical prodigy at an early age, eventually becoming a professional composer and occasional conductor for the National Symphony Orchestra. Self taught in furniture design, in 1951 Dunne set up a large factory workshop with his partner Michael Mc Mullin, another music enthusiast. Producing modern furniture for the modern home, their work, with simple lines and tapered legs, was Scandinavian inspired.

Dunne compared woods to musical notes. Oak suggested the key of c major and his oak dining suite he called the ‘C major suite,’ while a mahogany bedroom suite is called the ‘A minor suite.’ He said, “Designing furniture is like composing music you must bring to each a sense of rhythm and line and good workmanship.”

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