I was recently commissioned, in association with Project Pictures, to photograph the new Devlin Hotel in Dublin.
Pure Fitout are the craftsmen behind the project, and have sourced and manufactured nearly every feature of the hotel – from the 40 rooms, to the timber panelled rooftop restaurant and bar, art deco cinema, bronze-finished Americana Bar and Moroccan tiled bathrooms. The firm collaborated with renowned designers, O’Donnell O’Neill Design Associates, and Lawrence & Long Architects to complete the first new-build project for Press Up Entertainment Group.
My brief contained the usual long list of external and interior photographs but also requested that I capture the unique playful /edgy and stylish design of the space, from the “Feck Off – Don’t Disturb” signs to the art throughout. You see the Devlin Hotel is pitched as the coolest hotel in Dublin if not Ireland! It has everything great about Ireland, past present and future.
After reviewing the plans / drawings and some photos taken during construction, and discussing the key design elements I was afforded a two day shoot photographing late into the night and early on the second day. I requested a cherry picker to capture the feature roof top restaurant bar with the Dublin skyline.
The Devlin enjoys a wonderful location at the centre of Ranelagh, just south of the central city. It is in the heart of Ranelagh’s bustling main street with good connections to the city centre and airport. As such the hotel describes itself as a “community hub” and “more than a hotel” where you can stay as a resident or just enjoy the public spaces. Head in and relax in the café and bakery with space to meet friends or hot desk. Make use of the excellent concierge service to connect with a wide range of city offerings. Take in a movie at the 42-seat subterranean cinema, with its 1950s-style seating, leather trim, popcorn machine, food offerings and two daily screenings. Sample the spacious, light-filled Americana Bar on the ground floor for fresh, modern cocktails, and all-day bites. Or dine in the rooftop restaurant, “Layla’s”, with 180 degree views of Dublins skyline and a terrace for al fresco dining.
Don’t get me wrong this 40-room hotel is compact so there is no spa, fitness centre, garden or even parking. The hotel rooms have “Everything that you need and nothing that you don’t”. Standard rooms are on the modest side, but smart design – in particular cunning fenestration – removes any sense of lack of space. There's comfort and a decided sense of style. The techy mod cons (Nespresso machines, Smeg fridges, and Dyson hairdryers) also impress. A range of rooms are on offer: triples include bunk beds. Bathrooms are sleek and high quality, with rainforest showers and Moroccan tiles.
The Devlin ticks all the boxes, with excellent fittings and finishes. There are five specialist timbers featuring throughout the hotel, including the intricate Iroko panelling of the Americana Bar, pitch pine ceilings in Layla’s restaurant and walnut burl to the free standing case goods throughout the hotel’s interior.
Over 160 pieces of original paintings and prints hang on the walls, including work by Dorothy Cross, Cian McLoughlin and Eva Rothschild, as well as emerging artists like Alan Butler, Leah Hewson and Eve O’Callaghan. A bespoke Tracey Emin neon piece hangs above reception that says “I Came Here For You”.
The Devlin hotel has already been shortlisted for several awards including the RLI Interior Excellence Category 2019. My photographs have also helped it to be featured in the a whole host of publications including the Daily Telegraph, Irish Times, Independent, Hotel Owner Magazine.
One of the projects that I photographed with Microsoft last year was Station B.
Microsoft is creating a platform and bringing together partners to program biological systems, essentially understanding how to program cells like we program computers and eventually control how a cell behaves. Instead of programming in 1s and 0s researchers are using the building blocks of DNA to write “programs” that could, for instance, help a cell recognize and attack cancer. This can open doors to new treatments, drugs, cures and materials. The industry holds huge promise but still faces a number of challenges.
Microsoft is leveraging its expertise in programming and research to develop systems with state of the art programming languages, algorithms and machine learning methods to program cells; something few companies have the capabilities and research infrastructure to do.
Microsoft is partnering with researchers at Princeton University in the US and two UK companies – Oxford BioMedica, which focuses on gene and cell therapy, and Synthace, which develops scientific software – as it develops the new system, called Station B.
The project is featured in the Financial Times
Jonathan Banks picked up one “honorable mention” title in the “Children of the World” category and three “nomination” titles in the “Architecture”, “Fine Art” and “portraiture” categories.
12th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Sotheby's, New York; Benetton, Ponzano Veneto; The Art Channel, London; Kolle Rebbe, Hamburg; Droga5, New York; Preus Museum, Norway; Art Beatus, Hong Kong; Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg; Wieden & Kennedy, Portland; Fox Broadcasting Network, Los Angeles; Gallery Kong, Seoul; and Phillips, New York who honored Color Masters with 761 title awards and 1,032 nominees in 37 categories.
"It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 7,241 entries we received this year," said Basil O'Brien, the awards Creative Director. Jonathan Banks's photographs represent contemporary color photography at its finest.”
INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in colour photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in colour photography.
Towards the end of last year I photographed the Nobu Hotel in Shoreditch in association with Project Pictures.
Sitting happily among Shoreditch’s re-purposed warehouses and factories, Nobu Hotel is a bold architectural statement whose marriage of complexity and urban generosity delivers a global destination in the heart of London’s most vibrant neighbourhood.
Occupying a tight urban plot, the hotel follows the street line and accents its strong linear form with horizontal steel and concrete fins at each floor level. A playful, informal grid of board-marked concrete panels and generous full height glazing expresses the range of activities contained within the hotel, dematerialising at its sloping southern end to give sculptural presence to a lush sunken pocket park.
The original architects of the scheme, Ron Arad Architects, were appointed in 2011 to design the new Nobu Hotel in Shoreditch, gaining planning permission in 2012. The original scheme featured overhanging floor slabs, and cantilevered steel beams forming a frayed edge to the east, where a landscaped garden is terraced to provide natural light to the lower restaurant space. Ron Arad Architects left the project in 2013. Ben Adams Architects were appointed by Willow Corp in December 2013 to develop the design and complete the project.
Subtle material cues demarcate the public and private layers of the hotel. Refined bronze portals signal the hotel and restaurant entrances. Overlaying its raw concrete frame, timber, echoing the hotel’s concrete cladding, creative textiles and warm fabrics create an earthy, elegant aesthetic that delivers a variety of moods in its public spaces. This materiality creates a seamless link between the double height bar/restaurant in the hotel basement and the landscaped garden that adjoins this space. Sliding bamboo screens sandwiched within the hotel’s glazed cladding give flexible degrees of privacy to the suites that overlook the sunken garden and the 150 bedrooms occupying its upper floors, while maintaining a strong sense of harmony with the building’s architectural treatment as a whole.