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Category Winner




O'Donnell O'Neill Design

Ann-Marie O'Neill (Creative Director and Design Lead )



Restaurant Design

Structures & Spaces


Claire Short (Senior Designer)

(Contractors) Pure Fitout; (Fire Consultants) MJP

Design Challenge and Design Ideas

The Brief and our Design intent was to create an innovative and exciting new Concept for an Indian Restaurant that was not only moody and atmospheric but had a theatrical quality and stylisation evocative of 19th Century India.

The origin of the name Doolally comes from the transit camp station of Deolali near Mumbai from where troops, including Irish soldiers, awaited repatriation following their tour of duty. Deolali was a place where tails of India were documented and stories shared across the world by travelling soldiers including the Irish bringing their experiences of the subcontinent to Ireland.

Doolally occupies the Ground Floor of a new build co-work office in Dublin’s bohemian Portello. The main challenge was careful consideration of the Restaurant’s space planning. As a 220 seater in a potentially large open plan area, it was important to break the space down to create individual intimate areas for atmosphere.

How the brief was fulfilled

Doolally is a very unique and original Concept. The Design is evocative of a story of bygone times, executed through its attentive Interior detailing, clever use of texture, rich finishes and colourful patterns.

Design creativity is evident throughout the Interior resulting in a Restaurant that has a feeling of paired back grandeur.

On entering the Restaurant, patrons are first greeted by an eight-sided green marble topped Bar inspired by the geometric patterns of India in its unusual angular shape.

This multi-faceted bar results in plenty of room for patrons to sit comfortably deep within the space which adds significantly to the vibrancy and energy of the Restaurant when busy.

Wherever you are seated in the Restaurant, this central bar is the orienting feature for customers. It has a lovely hand made emerald green tiled front and archive images of Indian Architecture set into panels. The center piece of the back bar display is a commissioned art deco clock from Stokes Clocks in Cork that was specially designed and made for Doolally.

The other main focal point of the room, is the long linear theatrical open kitchen to the rear of the Restaurant which includes three giant tandoor ovens. Wooden fans, colonial antiques and vintage photography reminiscent of the last days of the families of the Raj are curated all around the room to enhance the immersive visual experience.

The use of sustainable materials in the Interior Design include a reclaimed oak engineered floor, salvage pine beams and pine boarded ceiling. The room is broken up with “found” internal timber screens and different seating styles from deep leather button back seats, cosy booths and loose seating all orientated in different directions. A mix of subdued colour leathers on the seats compliment the natural warm timber tones of the floors, walls and ceilings. The eight sided birr walnut topped dining tables were specially designed and crafted for this Interior and add a glamour and feel evocative of the era.

Exotic plants from the Indian sub-continent were chosen and used throughout the Restaurant to add a green lushness to the Interior of Doolally.


A strong concept and very high execution



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