Dermot Bannon: 'I’m hoping I’m doing for design what Jamie Oliver did for food'
Dermot Bannon hopes that his hit RTE show Room to Improve is having the same impact on design that British chef Jamie Oliver has had on food.
The architect said he feels "privileged" when fans of the programme stop him in the street to ask for advice and hopes that he is playing a part in bringing the art of design mainstream.
Speaking on FM104's Strawberry Alarm Clock, Dermot said that Irish people have bigger design dreams than they ever had in the past because of programmes like Room to Improve and RTE's Home of the Year.
"I’m hoping I’m doing for design what Jamie Oliver did for food.
"For years and years and years design was seen as elitist in Ireland. It was for lotto winners, it was for Grand Designs. It was seen as for other people, not us. My role on Room to Improve has always been to bring design into the ordinary – everybody’s houses.
"If people come up to me, they’re engaging with the whole process. It means that I’m hitting the mark, people think design is accessible. People didn’t do that for years," he said.
Room to Improve is now in its tenth season and Dermot said that he believes that Irish people "deserve more" than just a run-of the-mill extension or a replica of their neighbour's house.
"I’m hoping that everybody will have a go at design, or at least think about it and not just throw an extension up at the back of the house, or go off a set of plans that the neighbours gave them, but that they’ll start thinking about it a bit more. You’re living in this house for 40, 50 years. You deserve more than just a regular box," he said.
This season, Dermot has been joined by a new quantity surveyor, Lisa O’Brien, who replaced QS Patricia Power.
Speaking to the Irish Independent in January, Dermot said Lisa is well-able to tackle disputes with builders.
"There is no messing with her. She's on the ball. She's brilliant with builders. And she takes no bulls***."
"She busts my balls and asks, 'Why haven't you got that done?', and I say, 'Patricia would never speak to me like that!'"