Benefit Cosmetics – 17 South William Street, Dublin 2
New Look for Old
An eighteenth century listed building needing to be brought up to specification for modern use is always a challenge, and GEM Construction, using the plans drawn up by the architects Robin Mandal, was the Project Supervisor Construction Stage and the main contractor chosen for this difficult task.
Eighteenth century buildings can be beautiful, and Benefit Cosmetics needed a beautiful building in central Dublin to showcase their services and products. What could be more appropriate than a somewhat dilapidated and shabby building being restored to shining loveliness?
Double Challenge on Four Storeys
Safety is always the priority when it comes to working in old buildings, and this aspect of the project could be started immediately without the delays that are almost always encountered in the planning stage of difficult restoration work.
This is a four-storey building built over a basement. The ground floor is the retail outlet for the client and needed to be a show-stopper. As one of their clients commented, “This beautiful old Georgian building has been restored into a beauty wonderland.” The first floor consists of treatment rooms and offices, and therefore also had to be of a very high standard of interior design and decoration. The second houses further office space and a staff canteen, and the third floor has staff accommodation, with a kitchen and bathroom areas.
Once the initial structural safety works had been completed the refurbishment and new fit-out was the next stage, but this had to be delayed until final planning permission and a fire safety certificate was granted.
Best Practice Exemplars
17 South William Street was one of the examples chosen to demonstrate best practice exemplars in a conference for Dublin architects. This building shows where high quality conservation and design intervention has affected change. There are many redundant and underused spaces in historic buildings in Dublin, and this is one of the best examples of their potential for restoration and a practical purpose and use in the future.