The concept for the project was to expose and embrace the existing building aesthetic, keeping materials, spaces and the buildings historical elements intact. Sympathetic interventions were made, and the quirks within the building have been accented. Artwork has been implemented throughout to bring an element of enjoyment.
The colourful and contemporary furniture selection gives a nod to classic design. Salvaged items of furniture were reinserted into the proposal, maintaining elements of the buildings industrial past. Once a building used for rational labour, 151-156 Thomas Street is now an interior marvel, enhancing inspiration and productivity.
The building is a collection of structures made for the offices and ancillary warehouses of the IAWS (Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society), built between 1907-1920. It is representative of commercial architecture at the time and the building retains many original features - cornicing details and high ceilings. Thick timber floors above existing steel, exposed brick and original metal doors make up the material palette. New flooring has been installed and all steel is exposed along the ceilings. The cast iron lifting equipment and I-beams have been retained. An existing goods lift, clad in rustic metal shutters, creates a key feature. These elements of the previous incarnation form the approach taken towards new interventions. Pedestrian bridges of steel and reclaimed timber puncture two courtyards. Brick is exposed and the muted colour palette act as a backdrop to existing features. Original roof lights flood interior spaces with natural light.
The building has two distinctive spaces, each with their own defining character. Both identities have been used as the foundation for contemporary office spaces, respecting the context whilst breathing energy and life into this historically significant building. The ground floor has a café open to the public and a restaurant opening out into a semi enclosed courtyard. Courtyards become “Streets” linking the “Georgian” to the warehouse. Design details in areas such as the reception and the café take inspiration from the era 151-156 Thomas Street was constructed. 1930’s style timber paneling has been retained and forms banquette seating in the café. Distressed antique mirrors and marble countertops compliment a rich colour palette edged with brass accents. Ledger books, itemising transactions by the former IAWS, are integrated into the reception desk, in the form of a display cabinet. Furthermore, existing seed drawers are to be reused for storage in the new reception.