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Category Finalist


Stella Theatre


O'Donnell O'Neill Design

Anne-Marie O'Neill



Commercial Interiors

Structures and Spaces

Design Challenge and Design Ideas

The original Stella Theatre in Rathmines was a single theatre venue first built in 1923 and was named after the owner at the times wife Stella.
In the early 1980’s it was converted into 3 smaller cinemas and a lot of the original features of the Art Deco Interior were lost. It then closed it’s doors to the public approximately 12 years ago until our client bought the building.
Our challenge was to restore the theatre to it’s original 1920’s glitz and glamour style while ensuring that it met the operational demands of 21st Century Cinema and Cocktail Bar.

so we had to research and replicate as many of these features as possible. We also designed new bars evocative of a time gone by but fully

How the brief was fulfilled

The Stella Theatre has 3 distinct areas-: The Main Auditorium, The Lobby Bar and The Stella Cocktail Club.

**Main Auditorium**
Unfortunately a lot of the original features of the theatre were lost over time. We faced an uphill challenge trying to find old photos of the original interior. We used small segments of old mouldings we found to interpret and replicate the original theatre interior. We also researched cinema styles of that era to get a better understanding of what cinema going was about in the 1920’s. Luckily the original auditorium ceiling which was still intact although hidden by a newer ceiling put in during the 1980’s renovations. This is all finished with specialist gold gilt paint detailing. Once we recreated the original auditorium we commissioned bespoke low reclining comfortable armchairs with small side tables and bespoke table lamps to create a comfortable and unique environment for the theatre patrons.
The original thetare balcony had also been removed over time and had to replicated and rebuilt.

**Lobby Bar**
We created an Art Deco inspired area at the entrance to the auditorium. The lobby bar is also a waiting area for the theatre and where you buy/pick up your tickets and order drinks and food.
The centre piece is a bespoke Murano glass chandelier.
We designed a new Art Deco inspired bronze clad bar counter. This glows beautifully in the subtle light from the chandelier overhead.
The original Stella Theatre featured a striking marble mosaic “S” logo in the floor which we replicated in the lobby.

**Stella Cocktail Club**
The original theatre had a ballroom on the 1st floor. This ballroom is long gone as the room was converted to a small cinema in the 1980’s. In it’s place we created a beautiful stand alone Cocktail Bar. The interior is simple with it’s inspiration taken from the 1920’s. We discovered reminints of the old wallpanelling and carefully recreated this in the room. The bronze clad cocktail bar because the centre piece in the room. It was designed to look like a standalone piece of furniture in the room.
The bespoke carpet design is 1920’s inspired and the furniture was designed to be decadent and relaxing reminisent of the glamorous era of The Great Gatsby!

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