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.
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.
Last year I photographed the Nando’s newly refurbished head office reception space in Putney, as designed by Fusion DNA.
Fusion DNA have created a space that looks and feels in the same vein as one of Nando’s restaurants. There is the familiar Nando’s pallet of earthy tones contrasting with vibrant chilli flashes of colour. The design employs African patterns and natural materials with a variety of textures. The reception desk is polished concrete and is set against a bespoke tiled wall with feature pendants above. There is a ribbon light that leads you into the seating area which comprises of a huge feature wooden slat bench curving and twisting to define the reception waiting area.
Also on the ground floor is a large conference room with a bespoke boardroom table made by Forest to Home. The room opens out on to a courtyard for those meetings in the summer to spill out into. There are several other smaller meeting rooms with feature pieces of furniture, pendant lights and artwork.
The spiral stair case is constructed from polished layered plywood and is intertwined by a tube slide that I just had to try whilst there! On the first floor is a large break out / kitchen point for informal meetings. There are also a number of “class rooms” for staff training. Plants seem to grow wherever they can, with a plant wall in the reception area, wall hung planters in the breakout / kitchen space and numerous large planters dotted around.
Nando’s has so far bucked the trend of the slowdown of the casual dining sector and has plans to further expand its restaurant estate in 2019.
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