Cre­at­ing a dis­tinct space

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Interiors -

What’s your back­ground?

>> I was al­ways in­ter­ested in art and de­sign and was en­cour­aged by a teacher along the way to pur­sue ar­chi­tec­ture. I got ac­cepted to study ar­chi­tec­ture at Queen’s Uni­ver­sity Belfast but then trans­ferred to the Mack­in­tosh School of Ar­chi­tec­ture in Glas­gow. Both the school and city had a tremen­dously af­fir­ma­tive ef­fect on me.

I came to Dublin when jobs were plen­ti­ful, but af­ter a few years, I needed a change and moved to Lon­don to work with David Chip­per­field Ar­chi­tects, which was an­other for­ma­tive ex­pe­ri­ence.

I re­turned to Dublin just be­fore the eco­nomic col­lapse to work for Mccul­lough Mul­vin Ar­chi­tects.

Last year I set up Scul­lion Ar­chi­tects, and have been en­joy­ing ev­ery minute of it.

What’s a typ­i­cal work day like for you?

>> I share a stu­dio on Fran­cis St in Dublin’s Lib­er­ties with some other great de­sign­ers — NTN, an Ir­ish watch brand, Oth­ers, a surf/ de­sign project and Grown Cloth­ing, an eth­i­cal cloth­ing brand pro­mot­ing ocean aware­ness. The day usu­ally starts with a chat about whatwe’reeach­workingon, which can be re­ally stim­u­lat­ing since we’re each in dif­fer­ent fields of de­sign.

I de­lib­er­ately avoid emails for the first hour to men­tally or­gan­ise my pri­or­i­ties and think about where things are go­ing at project level and prac­tice level. I try to make time each day to sketch or make some­thing. There’s usu­ally a build­ing site visit or team meet­ing most af­ter­noons.

Tell us about a re­cent or favourite de­sign or project that you have worked on?

>> The Busi­ness School in Athlone needed a smart de­sign re­sponse that could be ex­e­cuted un­der an ex­tremely short pro­gramme with a tight bud­get — I’m pleased with what we achieved us­ing not much more than some paint, plas­ter­board walls and fold­ing par­ti­tions.

Also, the pe­riod house I ex­tended and re­worked in Grand Canal St this year was re­ally en­joy­able, be­cause the client had great as­pi­ra­tionsand­pushe­dusto ex­plore some­thing un­con­ven­tional.

What’s your de­sign style?

>> It’s much too early to say. Most ar­chi­tects will tell you they don’t have a style as to them it im­plies a cer­tain triv­i­al­ity or a lack of imag­i­na­tion. I don’t be­lieve it to be true since most ar­chi­tects can usu­ally iden­tify each other’s work pretty eas­ily.

What/who in­spires your work?

>> Aside from clients, my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence has been that the rich­est ex­ter­nal source of in­spi­ra­tion comes from art forms — ob­vi­ously you think of fine art and sculp­ture but it might just as eas­ily be film, tele­vi­sion or a book.

What’s your favourite trend at the mo­ment (if you have any)?

>> As soon as you start to recog­nise trends in ar­chi­tec­ture, you should re­sist the temp­ta­tion to re­sort to them be­cause you risk be­ing generic and lazy. It’s al­ways bet­ter, though harder, to drive each de­sign from per­sonal and spe­cific ob­ser­va­tions.

What’s your most trea­sured pos­ses­sion?

■ >> A book called Ed­i­fices de Rome Moderne, which is a com­pi­la­tionofen­grav­ing­sof Re­nais­sance Rome by Paul Le­tarouilly com­pleted over the course of 35 years of study.

Who would be your favourite ar­chi­tect, or style in­spi­ra­tion?

>> I try to make sure I find a new ‘favourite’ ar­chi­tect ev­ery six months. I think that’s nec­es­sary for me to pre­vent de­sign fa­tigue. At present, it’s Robin Walker.

What would be a dream project/de­sign for you to work on?

>> I’ve been for­tu­nate to work on a very wide range and scale of projects over my ca­reer so far, but for me, the­atres have been the most en­joy­able. It’s the magic of a room into an­other world sup­ported by ef­fec­tively a small fac­tory back­stage.

You are ad­dress­ing such a di­verse range of con­di­tions — from pub­lic so­cial spa­ces like the cafe and foyer to the in­ti­macy of the dress­ing rooms and the tech­ni­cal de­mands of the fly-tower and back­stage. It’s hard to imagine a bet­ter gift of a de­sign brief.

Have you any de­sign tips for us?

>> Be crit­i­cal of the rooms and spa­ces you spend your days in. Recog­nise and

Roof lights along the ridge of a house on Grand Canal St, Dublin span the apex.

Right, an­other do­mes­tic project — a gar­den room at Ranelagh, Dublin by Scul­lion Ar­chi­tects.

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