THE director of the Design Museum in London, Alice Rawsthorn, has given the image of Irish design another boost with the announcement that they will host a major retrospective of the work of Eileen Gray in 2005. The museum, located near Tower Bridge on the South Bank, is the first of its kind in the world, dedicated to design, architecture and fashion, and is also the UK's largest provider of design education resources.

At a recent talk at Farmleigh, Rawsthorn said that Enniscorthy-born Gray, who spent most of her life in Paris, had been "unfairly neglected for most of her career, but is now regarded as one of the most influential architects and designers of the 20th century."

Rawsthorn herself has become a somewhat controversial figure as director of the Design Museum, founded by Sir Terence Conran, and who, according to a recent newspaper report, is said to be increasingly uneasy about her penchant for interiors and fashion in a building with a broader design remit.

James Dyson, designer of the bag-less vacuum cleaner, was also a director of the museum, but walked out earlier this month over disagreements with Rawsthorn over what should, and should not, be showcased at the venue. Her staging of shoe designer Manolo Blahnik's show drew record crowds, while the website is the world's most visited design site.