Plank Mirror, Davin Larkin

Explore Davin's work as a design educator

Davin Larkin

Design Educator

Davin takes a practice based approach to his role as a design educator. This is twofold with him demonstrating his own skills through continued practice in Industry while also mentoring his students to learn in education as they would work in industry. Do as you preach and preach as you do.

This applied approach to design education nourishes students and their skills throughout their journey as a learner. Davin works alongside his students as a mentor, as a team leader and choreographs their learning path. Students are encouraged to actively seek knowledge while developing their own voice as a team member.

As a student’s voice develops their thinking, approach and ideals are challenged in a constructive manner. This emulates industry and encourages students to develop an identity for their design approach but also an understanding of the consequences of decisions they make. Ultimately the student becomes the teacher as they then begin to challenge Davin’s views and approach to design and they continue together as lifelong learners. This voice, this clarity of thinking enables each learner to become a valued member of the design industry.

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  • Design

    Design is about making the user's life better. The first question Davin asks his students is why? He advocates a user first inclusive approach to all projects with an emphasis on sustainability through design for manufacture principals. The use of design tools such as CAD is encouraged but emphasis on the importance of sketching as the de facto design language is prescribed.

  • Prototyping

    Prototyping go hand in hand with design, however, with the advancement of CAD skills designers have become more reliant on their visualisation abilities. All products are used in a three-dimensional world and thus designing a successful product requires a physical prototype. Davin encourages students to design, prototype, interact, assess and iterate as required. Only then can you progress to manufacture of the final product.

  • Digital

    While traditional skills such as sketching and prototyping are fundamental, designers must also look to the future. Davin encourages students to marry the craft of traditional furniture making with digital manufacturing technologies such as 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, CNC Technologies and programmable chips such as Arduino boards. Smart products and smart factories are the future, without an appreciation for the digital world we risk our products and skills becoming outdated.

  • Organisation

    Clarity in thinking is key to the success of a designer. Davin encourages students to be organised in their approach, to understand the skills to hand and apply them when required. Planning, organisation, presentation and self-promotion are all key to a designer’s success in Industry. These skills are embedded in every project presented to students in a holistic manner, skills develop over time as students become clearer on what they are trying to achieve.

Exemplar Teaching Aids

WWrasp (Woodwork Resources and Safety Procedures) is an ongoing personal research project by Davin with an aim to develop digital training aids to supplement traditional practical training on woodworking machinery.

WWrasp Bandsaw Visual
Interactive visuals

Inspired by reality, simplified for clarity and animated for accuracy

User first principals

Technology enhanced learning environment to encourage active knowledge discovery

Learning modes

Digital, physical, visual and textual resources, you learn the way you want

Research led resources

Want to learn more, visit WWrasp or read a published paper from Iterations here

Latest Projects


Wooda delights and surprises with impeccably crafted modern designs honoring a global heritage of the finest furnishings ever created. Wooda curate designs, manufacture and sell all their own pieces — a unique way of working by partnering with talented furniture designers from around the world to create collectible, iconic pieces for design lovers. Davin has collaborated with Wooda.


Gantri partner with leading designers worldwide to create unique, high-quality lights for modern living. Gantri innovate in cutting-edge manufacturing, so consumers can enjoy innovative products without the traditional price tag. Davin has collaborated with Gantri on the development of modern lighting products manufactured using innovative 3D printing processes.

Irerations Irish Design Research

ITERATIONS provides a platform for designers and design researchers in Ireland and internationally to document, reflect and present their Practices, Theories, Processes and Artefacts. Articles are selected by a multi-disciplinary editorial panel drawn from across the island of Ireland. Davin has had a paper published in Issue 2 and has also been part of the review panel since issue 3.

Award Wining Students

Under the guidance of Davin and the wider lecturing team in GMIT Letterfrack, students have won multiple design awards such as Future Makers, IDI Graduate Awards and The Student Wood Federation Awards.

Notable Past Students

Simon Doyle Detail Image
Simon Doyle

Simon Doyle is a furniture designer and maker. He has been named the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland's Future Maker of the Year 2016 and was tipped as one to watch by both The New York Times and The Irish Times.

Ainslie Peters
Ainslie Peters

Ainslie is a Designer and Marketing Manager for Nádhúra, a Galway based furniture firm. She is passionate about great design and aesthetics and loves to talk about it, checkout her website for more.

Michael Harris
Michael Harris

Michael is a recent graduate of GMIT Letterfrack with a BSc in Furniture Design and Manufacture. He is currently in the process of developing a business, focusing on digital making and furniture making concepts for the future.

GMIT Letterfrack Workshop

Industry Engagement

A critical part of Davin's role as an educator is to stay in tune with what is happening in Industry. Through a variety of active projects this meaningful engagement further emphasis his practice based focus to design education in the furniture industry.

Research Projects

Apart from Davin's personal research projects such as WWrasp he has also engaged in mentorship for MFA students in NCAD and completed Innovation vouchers with Enterprise Ireland to name a few.

Collaborative Projects

Davin has collaborated with industry, education and community organisations on a variety of design related projects. Collaborators include Coillte, LSAD, ID2015, Gaelscoil na Cruaiche, Connemara West, HSE West and Farmleigh Gallery.


If you have a research or collaborative project that would benefit from his input, please contact us. Davin has a particular interest in product development opportunities.