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Project Orange completes ‘Baronial Moderne’ restaurant for Dublin hotel

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Grand country house meets Art Deco is how Project Orange describes the design of this new restaurant at the Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin

The interior of this 80-cover restaurant makes extensive use of brass, oak and leather. This design is intended to create an environment appropriate for both the evening restaurant – for which the hotel is bidding to regain a Michelin star – as well as for serving breakfast to guests.

The practice’s design also employs mirrors and a variety of lighting installations to help mitigate the limitations of the existing space, which suffers from a deep plan, limited natural light and low ceilings.

The restaurant is the latest in a number of projects that Project Orange has completed in the hotel over the last 15 years, and the first element of the current refurbishment of the whole hotel to complete. 

404 fitzwilliam hotel dublin day 01

404 hotel day 01

Architect’s view 

Our brief for the new restaurant was clear without being prescriptive. The hotel required an interior that would be sophisticated, glamorous and meet the demanding and sometimes conflicting requirements of both fine dining and hotel breakfast service. The client’s ambition, with new chef Andy McFadden, was to regain the elusive Michelin star.

The space, located on the first floor, was unpromising. Although overlooking Dublin’s celebrated St Stephens Green, a vast garden square in the centre of the city, the restaurant is very deep in plan with only three windows to enjoy the view and providing limited natural light. The ceilings are also extremely low, especially once space for service runs for air handling and from the bedroom floors above has been allowed.

404 fitzwilliam hotel dublin bar 02

404 fitzwilliam hotel dublin bar 02

For the original design concept we coined the phrase ‘Baronial Moderne’. This conjunction of apparently contradictory style references serves as a device to help generate a new aesthetic for the project. In this instance it described the bringing together of the signature elements of a grand county house with a Modernistic aesthetic redolent of the Art Deco period.

The design for the new restaurant respects this original concept but develops it with an evocation of travel, our stated aim to reimagine Pullman Class dining through a contemporary lens. This is realised in a palette of rich fumed oak and waxed brass, marble and fibrous plaster, and mohair and leather.

In order to unite the otherwise disparate areas of the floor plan, a sinuous lining of three-quarter height fumed oak panelling was introduced, a fluid ribbon that could flow and lead the eye between the different areas of the restaurant. These are essentially four distinct yet linked areas, each defined by a stepped coffered ceiling and thick carpeting inset within the chevron parquet floor.

The restaurant was handed over in early January and opened last week. McFadden’s verdict on the interior? ’Sophisticated, luxurious and with impressive attention to detail.’ His favourite element however, was the scallop shell mosaics that adorn the bar; shellfish are McFadden’s signature ingredient.

Christopher Ash, director, Project Orange

1612 [restaurant presentation drawings] copy

1612 [restaurant presentation drawings] copy

Source: Project Orange

Plan and internal elevation

Project data

Start on site July 2017
Completion January 2018
Gross internal area (excluding kitchen / back of house) 265m²
Construction cost (fit-out contract cost including FF&E but excluding fees and kitchen kit) approx €750,000
Architect / interior designer Project Orange
Project manager Chawner & Trench
M&E consultant  Homan O’Brien

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