Kate Hession

My name is Kate Hession. I have just completed my final year of Visual Merchandising & Display Design at TUDublin, Grangegorman. It has been a wonderful learning experience where I have developed new ways of expressing myself through individual and group work. The collaborative projects have been hugely beneficial and have given me great insight into research and idea generation. The support and knowledge gained from all my lecturers have been very helpful, for which I am so grateful and this has enabled me to plan, develop and execute projects from start to finish. The friendships made with my fellow students will continue and I have thoroughly enjoyed my course.


One of my favourite installation projects from the course was the Christmas Window 2020. We were all assigned a specific colour to work within our brief. Using only that colour, we had to create a show-stopping display. I was given ‘seductive silver.’ I incorporated the theme of Christmas by creating a tree structure using branches I had gathered in the park. These were painted silver, secured to the wall with nylon cord and staples. With graduated spacing and sizing, they were aligned to create a tree-like illusion. Upon this framework, I suspended my selected silver objects. In keeping with Christmas presents and mindful of this seasonal target market, I chose typically indulgent, luxury, personal items such as jewellery, handbags and footwear. Instead of a plain white wall, I set these against a partially silver ‘daubed effect’ painted backdrop, therefore providing a continuum with the physical props. This was achieved using utility sponge wedges and allowed for a ‘shimmer effect’ which accentuated the single use colour theme brief. There was balance and contrast in the piece visually with the organic shapes of the branches and the use of these various gifts, from delicate filigree jewellery and evening bags, to elegant, occasion footwear. I wanted to ensure a visually tactile element, so materials varied from chain handles, sequins, tassels, fringed purses and draped satin, to patent silver and textured velvet. Intermittent use of baubles accentuated the Christmas tree theme. The fullness of the ‘tree’ base was reinforced with wrapped Christmas presents in varying shapes and sizes, consolidating the traditional form. The overall effect was realised with symmetrical balance, appealing to the senses through shape and materials. It was finished with a frosting of seasonal magic! I enjoyed this project very much.

Fun Dining

My final year work experience requirement meant my placement at IKEA provided me with a great opportunity and platform to realise my work and idea. I was assigned a place in the dining section of the showrooms; therefore, this informed the nature of my installation. The post-Covid brief focused on new opportunities for the shopper to embrace and rediscover the pleasure of the retail experience. There was a need to have fun once more after times of restriction, disappointment and uncertainty. This called for a return to carefree themes, reaffirming life’s simple pleasures and enjoying colour and the vibrant excitement, denied for so long. The Spring/Summer 2022 trend of ‘Euphoric’ was the concept I chose to base my project on, which led to my exploration of ‘fun dining.’

I decided to centre my installation around a funfair theme, with the central prop of my handmade Ferris Wheel alongside a two-tone green and white striped feature wall, reminiscent of a carnival. The funfair theme suggested a less formal setting, with multi-generational experience using a light-hearted approach. I made the wheel by drawing up the design on my laptop, then using MDF and a laser cutter to provide the three-dimensional form, assembling the structure and painting it. The cupcakes were made from paper and card, measured, pleated, sewn by hand and embellished. These were then attached to the wheel with a nylon cord. An uplifting colour palette of pale pink, soft green and crisp white created a warm and convivial atmosphere. I made handmade paper cupcakes to adorn the Ferris Wheel, which was able to spin around for realism. I used wooden miniature mannequin figures in varied dance poses to echo the playful theme, wearing pink ballet ‘tutus’ which were upcycled from the bathroom department’s loofahs. I carefully chose products from around the store that complimented my assignment’s theme. The overall result was a fun, exciting experience.