Being a Woman in the Property Industry

When I heard my name called out as joint winner of the emerging talent at the KPMG Irish Independent Property Industry Excellence Awards 2017, it felt really, really good. There was a certain validation, a validation of our creative approach and execution and the value and importance of our contribution in a highly competitive and thriving industry. In a year where one of KLD’s goals was genuine collaboration, sharing the award for emerging talent with Joe McGinley, founder and CEO of Iconic offices, after recently collaborating on a series of projects together, was further cause for celebration. It was also wonderful to see other brands and businesses that we continue to collaborate with including Cairn Homes Plc as winners on the night. Creative collaboration is a hallmark of how KLD work.

Irish rugby legend Paul O’Connell presents the emerging talent award jointly to Róisín Lafferty and Joe McGinley at the KPMG Irish Independent Property Industry Excellence Awards in 2017

What is it like to be a woman in what is a male dominated industry?

There is no doubt 2017 and 2018 were extraordinary years for women. The #MeToo movement was a global phenomenon, a wake-up call that demanded both women and men to look at themselves and question their whole belief systems and what was acceptable and not. There has never been a better time to be a woman in this industry, women now have more agency than ever before – witness the stunning work done by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley Mc Namara of Grafton Architects who are trailblazers and very inspirational to women like me. Of course there is a way to go, but we are moving in the right direction.

Property and construction is a male dominated industry and sometimes interior design and interior architecture can be seen by some as fluffy and secondary. However, it is the interior of a building that everyone experiences most. Irrespective of how our home or workplace looks like on the outside, how it is inside that is what is most impactful. The spaces you surround yourself with impact on you hugely, and what is important for KLD is to make these spaces beautiful, unique and exciting and this has been at the core of our success.

Whiskey Library
Iconic SouthPoint Library and Whiskey Bar


Interior architecture and design is a carefully researched and crafted discipline placing human behaviour at its core to provide improved ergonomic environments. It is important for us to create exciting spaces for all our clients. What we look at in KLD is how these spaces are inhabited and experienced, be it work spaces, hospitality, retail or residential. For example, in the workplace we look at the human form and its actions in the space and endeavour to design a holistic embodied sensory experience, creating connection between the human body and the architectural body. All aspects, from the initial layout to the integrated lighting, furniture and buildup of materials and finishes are considered. The KLD approach ensures the best result for our clients; adding value to people’s lives and to businesses and brands.

Office space
Co-working space at Iconic Offices: The Brickhouse


Upcoming projects

Times are extremely exciting for KLD with a cluster of thrilling creatively led projects ongoing across hospitality, student living, office and retail sectors to name a few. We are privileged to be working with some very creatively minded clients and getting to experiment and push concepts and design boundaries. One such project has just completed. The Vaults, a new tourist attraction based in central Dublin in a stunning Victorian schoolhouse, is the first of its kind in the city. Fusing Irish history, drama and experiential design, The Vaults takes visitors on an exciting and unexpected journey culminating in a stunning parlour, which we designed. The parlour is a combined café and retail space with whimsical and playful references, delicious food and drinks. Look out for it.

The Vaults: A view through the original arches with a central marble high table to the new extension.
The Vaults: A view through the original arches with a central marble high table to the new extension.


The Vaults: Checkered floor and neon curved lighting connecting old and new sections.
The Vaults: Checkered floor and neon curved lighting connecting old and new sections.


I love my job, I love the industry and the amazing creative and talented people it attracts. I feel very lucky I get recreate my dreams and imagination for a living. I have worked hard to get where I am, I have had to build my business acumen up from zero, exercising that muscle to come somewhat closer to my creative ones. I am so proud of KLD and what it has achieved. We currently employ people from all over the world, which adds further diversity and design perspectives.

I could not have done this without all the amazing designers, artists, collaborators and mentors I have worked with over the years. At KLD we are uncompromising about the relationships we build and the stories we tell. We come with a creative passion matched with and deep understanding of the industry we are in.

Team KLD


This blog post is based on an article originally featured in the Irish Independent on 26 July 2018. This article can be viewed here.

Róisín Lafferty is the Founder and Creative Director of Kingston Lafferty Design. She believes firmly in the power of creative collaboration and has received a string of prestigious accolades, including Young Designer of the Year at the 2015 Fit Out Awards, a number of IDI Awards for both residential and commercial projects and the Emerging Talent Award at the 2017 Excellence in Property Awards.  She is a Brand Ambassador for INM’s House Event and for the past three years has worked closely as Brand Ambassador for DFS and Fleetwood Paint. KLD continues to grow and gain international recognition and their work has been featured in many Irish and International publications such as Living ETC, Italian Vogue, Architectural Digest and The Wall Street Journal.