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Category Winner


Merrion Square Design Offices


LUCA Architecture

Lucy Rainey, Catherine Crowe



Commercial Interiors

Structures & Spaces


John Carney -Main Contractor Oakridge Building; MJ Flood- Curved Screen Fine edge joinery- bespoke joinery

Design Challenge and Design Ideas

This project involved the transformation of a 1800 sqft Merrion Square basement into a light filled contemporary design office. The concept was simple and straightforward. A space that provides a real wow factor for clients visiting while providing a comfortable inspiring backdrop and workplace for the staff.The existing space was dark, with minimal decor and services. The Landlord commissioned LUCA with the task, and it became personal as our own new headquarters

The budget was tight and had to be shared between getting fundamentals like the services-heating and lighting sorted out and the finishes and overall look and feel of the space. The existing space was fully stripped out and new services installed along with new flooring, custom joinery, kitchen, lighting features and curved boardroom glazing. We had to work within the existing footprint as its a listed building so the brief had to be made fit the space.

How the brief was fulfilled

The space was basic with a painted concrete floor and flurorescent lighting. Although some of the dividing walls had been removed previously, the space was dark and unfit for purpose with no specific areas that suited open plan or conference meeting areas without blocking light. Features like the barrel vault area were used as a store space and the arched openings had no presence in the space. We started by fully fitting out the porch area with custom joinery to hide the electrical and fuse boxes and coat area. This leads through to the reception area where we installed a curved glass feature boardroom that leads you into the space, without taking away light on the streetside. This visually connects to the open plan but allows for acoustic privacy. The barrel vault area under the original stairs above is a materials and finishes library with a display space for clients to see their projects. This leads down into a gallery of our work through to the kitchen and bathrooms. The open plan is linked to all these spaces by a series of arches and is always glimpsed through from every area. It draws light from a rear courtyard and through the glazed boardroom area. The materials are simple, oak flooring with white walls that provide a backdrop to the furniture, materials, joinery and planting -a bespoke dinesen boardroom table that we designed for the boardroom, the custom library joinery and the black detailing around the curved glass screen, lighting and furniture.

The main challenge was to provide office accommodation in an almost fully open plan space lit only by front and rear windows in a dark basement area. We had to balance opennesss and light with privacy, acoustics and functionality.The internal lighting was designed to provide a warm ambiance and highlighting rather than blanket lighting everything. Desk and floor lamps provide task lighting and balance with the natural light coming in.We also had a major challenge getting the full height curved glass partitioning down in to the space through a very constricted access point. It involved removing part of the porch wall.


A clever use of materials and palette to create a sophisticated and comfortable environment in a challenging location. Fundamentally this is utilisation of of a space that could easily be rendered unusable.



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