Shopfront race to the bottom

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    • #708528
      Devin
      Participant

      Some unbelievable things happening around town at the moment with shopfronts. A kebab shop is being opened at the moment here in a protected structure on Fownes Street in Temple Bar. A large alucabond fascia with crude lettering and a PVC door at one end have been installed without planning permission. There are already too many kebab shops in this vicinity (several out on Dame Street).

      And an enormous ’70s style internally-illuminated box fascia has been stuck onto a protected structure without p.p. on Sth. William St., next to Assembly House & Powerscourt House 😮 . Have emailed complaints on this and Fownes Street to DCC Planning Enforcement.

      The two main convenience stores, Spar and Centra, are trying to outdo each other at the moment with garish unauthorised signage. More on that later.

    • #775950
      a boyle
      Participant

      @Devin wrote:

      And an enormous ’70s style internally-illuminated box fascia has been stuck onto a protected structure without p.p. on Sth. William St., next to Assembly House & Powerscourt House 😮 . Have emailed complaints on this and Fownes Street to DCC Planning Enforcement.
      .

      I saw that yesterday and was furios also ,i tried to find the planning permission on the internet but i couldn’t. Are you sure that they don’t have permission ( or like me did you assume the coucil couldn’t possibly have allowed this)

      We seem to take two steps back for every one forward. I get so depressed sometimes, things improve inch by inch and then you see something like that eurcycles shops front. Fuck the whole system, if this is the best it can come up with ! In a more measured tone , just up the road the there is an application for a change of use to a pub, which i am not sure about. I really like the way this street has developped over the last few years with the combination of sex shops and places to socialise.I feel it’s has a nice bit of atmosphere.But i think that it probably has just the right number of pubs on it ,and instead could do with a restaurant . ( the conservationist in me recognises that pubs tend to be long lasting and often don’t require too much internal intrusion on the design) I’d really like to voice my conecerns but i just don’t have 20 quid to spare !

    • #775951
      Devin
      Participant

      You don’t need planning permission for a new shop if there’s already been a shop there, but you do for new signage or alterations to the shopfront. So what people are doing is they’re opening a shop, putting up new signage, then either appying for retention or leaving it there as long as they can possibly get away with.

      The council need to get really tough on this sort of thing or else the ambience of the city centre is going to go down the toilet.

    • #775952
      kite
      Participant

      @Devin wrote:

      You don’t need planning permission for a new shop if there’s already been a shop there, but you do for new signage or alterations to the shopfront. So what people are doing is they’re opening a shop, putting up new signage, then either appying for retention or leaving it there as long as they can possibly get away with.

      The council need to get really tough on this sort of thing or else the ambience of the city centre is going to go down the toilet.

      😡 Disgusting shop front. If these muppets are operating without permission can the City Council just go in and shut it down?

    • #775953
      burge_eye
      Participant
      Devin wrote:
      You don’t need planning permission for a new shop if there’s already been a shop there, but you do for new signage or alterations to the shopfront. ]

      advertisements exhibited on business premises referring to the business, goods or services provided, but there are limitations:

      – freestanding advertisements cannot be more than 2.5m high or more than 3m2 in total area, and no more than 1.5m2 of the overall total may be internally lit,

      -advertisements attached to buildings cannot be more than 4m high. The area of these advertisements can be up to 0.3m2 per metre of frontage, less the area of freestanding advertisements, and subject to a maximum of 5rn2,

      – advertisements on “side” frontages cannot exceed 1.2m2 or 0.3m2 if internally lit,

      – no letter or logo can exceed 0.3m in height,

      – other projecting signs cannot exceed 0.4m2 individually and their total area cannot exceed 1.2m2,

      – no advertisements can cover any part of a window,

      – all advertisements out over the road or footpath must be at least 2m above ground and cannot project out more than 1m over the road or footpath.

      internally lit window displays and ‘in shop’ displays, but the window displays must be no larger than1/4 of the window area.
      advertisements within a structure,
      not more than one advertisement (up to 0.3m2) at an entrance to a premises relating to a business,trade, profession or publicservicecarried on there. The size limit increases to 0.6m2 for public houses, blocks of flats, clubs, boarding houses and hostels so long as the advertisement is not illuminated. One advertisement per entrance is allowed if there are entrances on different roads

    • #775954
      a boyle
      Participant

      well lets see if we can do something about this ! the telephone number for the eurocycles shop is 616 9816. I have just telephoned and asked the manager for the reference number to the planning application for the signage. Needless to say he immediately said that he wouldn’t know about that and that i would have to call back to talk to someone else . And of course he immediately got extremely stressed about me daring to probe their business!

      so i encourage any of you out there to take 2 minutes and telephone the shop and express your displeasure . If enough of us bother to kick up a stink , it will work! 616 9816

    • #775955
      Anonymous
      Participant

      I would advise the opposite; if this goes to court like it probably will such calls will only assist the occupier in the creation of a ‘victim’ persona who has been haraassed by ‘mad conservationists’ after a ‘genuine mistake’

      A written complaint to Frank Egan at DCC would be a lot more effective

    • #775956
      a boyle
      Participant
      Thomond Park wrote:
      I would advise the opposite]

      Good point !

    • #775957
      a boyle
      Participant

      c

    • #775958
      a boyle
      Participant

      I am having trouble locating the address for the eurocycle shop. it appears to be 57 south william street , am i right ?

    • #775959
      anto
      Participant

      @a boyle wrote:

      I saw that yesterday and was furios also ,i tried to find the planning permission on the internet but i ……………… I really like the way this street has developped over the last few years with the combination of sex shops and places to socialise.I feel it’s has a nice bit of atmosphe……………………..

      ??? Yeah the sex shops add a real touch of class to the street!:confused:

    • #775960
      maggie
      Participant

      As an aside, the nice contemporary pub front to Tom’s Bar in Mountrath (Ithink it got an AAI special mention a few years ago) is being replaced with another pastiche traditional surround. It looks a mess, the windows to first floor level and the doors at ground floor seem to be staying. It must have changed ownership recently. Pity.

    • #775961
      a boyle
      Participant

      @anto wrote:

      ??? Yeah the sex shops add a real touch of class to the street!:confused:

      No they don’t add class to the street and that is what is nice about the street. Like a district in copenhagen, the justapositions of sex shops with uber trendy spots like spy and the cosmetic shop blue ariu (i think) is just cool! It adds a little sauciness of which i thouroughly approve. ( without being anything like a red light district) . We ALL like to play dress up on occasion.

    • #775962
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @a boyle wrote:

      We ALL like to play dress up on occasion.

      Interesting generalisation. One is tempted to make a snide remark referring to planning permission, unregulated and obtrusive internally-illuminated erections and box fascia in the South William Street area, but perhaps decency best forbids. 🙂

    • #775963
      a boyle
      Participant

      @PDLL wrote:

      Interesting generalisation. One is tempted to make a snide remark referring to planning permission, unregulated and obtrusive internally-illuminated erections and box fascia in the South William Street area, but perhaps decency best forbids. 🙂

      Oh please do, work is boring , i could do with a laugh !

    • #775964
      GrahamH
      Participant

      How disgusting – the shopfront that is 😉

      Otherwise I haven’t a notion as to what all the whinging is about – the standards in shopfront design have soared in recent times in Dublin. One need only look at the cool and contemporary lines of Carroll’s Irish Gifts’ latest addition to the city’s ever-burgeoning repertoire of striking new entrance fronts, this time on Talbot Street; its uber-sheek profile generated by knocked-together planks of plywood smothered in glaring white paint and finished off with the most delightful of decorative flourishes: a pair of MDF roundels.

    • #775965
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      Deserves an award….

    • #775966
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Watching them desperately throwing the store together in time for St. Patrick’s Day was a drama worthy of the national theatre round the corner 😀

      At least the sign is temporary, if that could be considered any consolation…

    • #775967
      anto
      Participant

      Thw swing out windows above Carrols are also a delight!

      When it comes to signage, the plywood heritage signs are nearly as bad as the plastic signs.

    • #775968
      Devin
      Participant

      Yeah the Caroll’s one is not great but it’s not offensive; it’s just non-descript. If I had the choice between traditional-style with lumpy mock-mouldings and non-descript, I’d pick non-descript.

      [align=center:x6ygrk65]~~~~~~~[/align:x6ygrk65]

      What used to be The Woolen Mills on Wellington Quay – a bit of old Dublin decency – recently became ….. a Centra!!

      But wait for this: Because of the sensitive location opposite the Ha’penny Bridge, a timber shopfront by McLoughlin Architecture and a low-key paint scheme and signage were agreed (top picture). But within the past 10 days, Centra have given the 2 fingers to their planning permission by illegally redoing the front in brash colours & signage (bottom picture). What a great city we live in!

      All you can do when this happens is get a complaint in & hope the council will act on it.

    • #775969
      TLM
      Participant

      Just disgraceful! Thank god we have some vigilant people in the city to object! Keep up the good work complaining!

    • #775970
      ctesiphon
      Participant
      Devin wrote:
      But wait for this: Because of the sensitive location opposite the Ha&#8217]

      Interesting that they went out of their way to do the first floor windows and the little electricity (?) box in the beginning, and sad that they didn’t even bother to match them in the repaint. Wrong on so many levels.

    • #775971
      a boyle
      Participant

      i put in a notice with regard to the first shop pictured ( south william street ) perhaps other could take the time notify planning enforcement about the other shopfronts here listed.

    • #775972
      CTR
      Participant

      Anyone have any updates on kebab shop and eurocycles fronts? I only came across this thread today and am going to complain to DCC too. Brazenly erecting this things without P.P. needs to be stamped out by the council… and quickly! 🙁

    • #775973
      a boyle
      Participant

      @CTR wrote:

      Anyone have any updates on kebab shop and eurocycles fronts? I only came across this thread today and am going to complain to DCC too. Brazenly erecting this things without P.P. needs to be stamped out by the council… and quickly! 🙁

      like my post says i reported the eurocycles shopfront , it is up to others here to do their bit . there is another ugly ‘temporary’ sign accross the road at 18/19 south william street , so perhaps someone could put look into that and report back here, unless of course this is just a talking shop !!!!

    • #775974
      Morlan
      Participant

      This is a fucking disgrace. The council should be dishing out heavy fines to deter these law breakers.

      Very good letter Devin.

    • #775975
      lomb
      Participant

      did u guys ever hear about out with the old and in with the new? i actually prefer the new centra signage, and also love the eurocycles signage also. people are just trying to make a living and there are crazy laws done by ‘conservationists’ holding them back. anyone who thinks the cycle store signs look bad or the centra looks worse than it did before needs their head examined.

    • #775976
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Can you recommend a good shrink?

    • #775977
      BTH
      Participant

      @lomb wrote:

      did u guys ever hear about out with the old and in with the new? i actually prefer the new centra signage, and also love the eurocycles signage also. people are just trying to make a living and there are crazy laws done by ‘conservationists’ holding them back. anyone who thinks the cycle store signs look bad or the centra looks worse than it did before needs their head examined.

      Wow… “I… love the eurocycles signage…”. What a first post!! 😉

    • #775978
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Its nothing to do with “out with the old, in with the new” lomb. Its about good design. There are plenty of excellent contemporary designs out there whihc contribute to the street rather than turn it into something tacky and tasteless. Its not just the folks here saying it, the City Council think so too. It was one of the central rationales behind the O

    • #775979
      Devin
      Participant

      Something that may not be visible in the previous pic of the redone Centra shopfront is that the alucabond (shiny) panel that was placed over the existing fascia has a nasty little ‘traditional’ moulding around its edge, which is at odds with the streamlined timber design of the rest of the front. When muck strikes, it does so with a vengeance!

      Ctesiphon, the careful coordination of the original paint job would probably be down to the diligence of the architect. That Centra scum couldn’t give a toss so long as their own front can be seen a mile down the river!

      A boyle, good on you for registering a complaint about Sth. William St.

      I will have a fuller report on the behaviour of the convenience stores soon.

    • #775980
      GrahamH
      Participant

      A group called Griffin’s has taken over nearly all the major convenience stores in the city centre of late. As part of the ‘takeover’, the various premises have had to have their signs redone. Some of them have ‘temporary sign’ signs erected over their doors, the Londis on O’Connell Street next to Clerys extraordinarily large and vulgar in the extreme. It has been sitting there for well over six months at this stage, if not since last summer.
      Exactly how long is a ‘temporary sign’ permitted to be in place? Do they even have any legal standing?

    • #775981
      a boyle
      Participant

      I don’t know. What i do know is that dublin is soooo busy in every way and all the time , that noone will do diddly squat till you ask them !!!

      I’d imagine that the council’s inspectors are overstretched (like everyone else) , log onto the councils website , theres an email adress to which you can report illegal development . I know it took a week to get a confirmation of my complaint so good luck !

    • #775982
      Devin
      Participant

      All of the convenience stores are completely taking the piss out of planning requirements on every level at the moment. It is almost out of control. Hoping to get some media coverage on this v. shortly.

    • #775983
      GrahamH
      Participant

      I loved this store on Talbot Street a while back – didn’t know if it was coming or going 😀

    • #775984
      BTH
      Participant

      Isn’t spar’s logo, colouring and typeface absolutely horrific… Such a blast from the 70s… Their new signage thats been rolled out recently is a little bit more subtle but not much better than the pic above. Its hard to know, in some ways I really hate the real pastiche style signs with gold lettering on olde worlde timber shopfronts but the shiny plastic and garish colours are generally far more offensive…

      Any samples of good shopfront design to post here? It’d be nice to get a comparison!

    • #775985
      GregF
      Participant

      Check out the Internet cafe on Parliament Street. Its painted Double Yellow Line road marking yellow as well as having as having a shitty cheap sign. It’s neighbour is painted Sci-Fi Silver. And this right in front of City Hall.

    • #775986
      dc3
      Participant

      How nice it is to see our politicians entereing into this arena[ATTACH]2265[/ATTACH]

    • #775987
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      Most politicans local offices are fairly bad – would be an interesting photo survey, if everyone could go out and photograph their local representatives’ offices

    • #775988
      GrahamH
      Participant

      You mean an interesting media opp? 😀
      Yes most of them are dire – can think of a number straight off. Essentially they’re just used as billboards: the bigger and brasher the better. And who in town council planning offices is going to raise that as an issue?

    • #775989
      kite
      Participant

      @dc3 wrote:

      How nice it is to see our politicians entereing into this arena[ATTACH]2265[/ATTACH]

      😮 Christ, you would not see the likes of that in the Falls Road, Belfast in the bad days…looks almost as bad as the FF office in Bishopstown, Cork.
      Never tried to post a photo before, how is it done?
      I will try and post a photo tomorrow if i can figure it out.

    • #775990
      Anonymous
      Participant

      That attitude cost him a seat in the Pembroke Ward

    • #775991
      anto
      Participant

      @kite wrote:

      😮 Christ, you would not see the likes of that in the Falls Road, Belfast in the bad days…looks almost as bad as the FF office in Bishopstown, Cork.
      Never tried to post a photo before, how is it done?
      I will try and post a photo tomorrow if i can figure it out.

      Use http://www.photobucket.com

    • #775992
      kite
      Participant

      @anto wrote:

      Use http://www.photobucket.com

      😎 I will try that, thanks for the help.

    • #775993
      a boyle
      Participant

      Some success.

      A planning enforcement notice has been issued with respect to the eurcycles shop
      (south william street).

    • #775994
      markpb
      Participant

      I’m not sure how long it’s been there but the poker place on eden quay is possibly worse than Eurocycles – huge, plastic, backlit sign that is way oversized and hangs too low. I didn’t get a photo last night but anyone who passes it at night will see what I mean 🙁

    • #775995
      a boyle
      Participant

      well why don’t you report it to planning enforcement.

    • #775996
      markpb
      Participant

      Is Eden Quay covered by IAP or can I complain just because I don’t like it? :p

    • #775997
      a boyle
      Participant

      well what i did with eurocycles was to check if any planning permission had been given or sought in the last few years , and there hadn’t been. I don’t know if there is a time limit to these things though.

      how long is the poker joint there ?

    • #775998
      markpb
      Participant

      I think it’s been there a while but I only noticed the garish sign last night so I’m guessing it’s new. I’ll send a letter to planning enforcement later and see what they say.

    • #775999
      a boyle
      Participant

      @markpb wrote:

      I think it’s been there a while but I only noticed the garish sign last night so I’m guessing it’s new. I’ll send a letter to planning enforcement later and see what they say.

      i would add that they seem to be very very busy . as it took a good month or two to get a letter back from the council.

      I am assuming that eurocycles have done nothing .. Does anybody know what the is next thing to do ?

    • #776000
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Don’t worry yet a boyle. It’s a long process – ranging from notices being issued, to enforcement proceedings being enacted or the subject property entering into negotiations with the authority as to a timeframe for remedial works, without official enforcement being necessary.
      And especially with DCC being as stretched as they are, I’d give them a while.
      Have you been to the shop lately?

    • #776001
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Not all Spar signs are that bad, just look at the sign on the Spar within the Irish Bar complex on Church St. Although I must admit that Spar in particular is the worst offender over all in comparison to other chains. Some chains claim that due to strict rules of the franchise they must have a particular signage with set colours, this is rubbish as adaption to a particular area is no way prevented, its just cheaper to use a generic standard signs

    • #776002
      markpb
      Participant

      I emailed planning enforment yesterday, guess I’ll have to wait and see what they say but from what you said (a boyle), I won’t be expecting a reply anytime soon. Here are some (low quality camera phone) photos of the place.

      Pic1
      Pic2

    • #776003
      Anonymous
      Participant

      That sign is an affront to plastic signage

    • #776004
      a boyle
      Participant

      that is pretty ugly.

    • #776005
      urbanisto
      Participant

      as opposed to “a front of plastic signage”

      Is this that amusement dump on Eden Quay?

    • #776006
      markpb
      Participant

      It’s under the Clifton Court hotel and beside the new building, Aston/Ashton court.

    • #776007
      jdivision
      Participant

      @markpb wrote:

      It’s under the Clifton Court hotel and beside the new building, Aston/Ashton court.

      It used to be Spi pub, was briefly “trendy” and was owned by Hugh O’Regan. He sold it on a good few years ago to a couple of guys who own a gay bar on the quays – don’t know the name of it – and it was then partly turned into a lap dancing club. Obviously that didnt work so they’re moving onto the next “craze”

    • #776008
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      @jdivision wrote:

      it was then partly turned into a lap dancing club. Obviously that didnt work so they’re moving onto the next “craze”

      What? You mean the lap-dancing craze is over? Oh for shame. And just as I was about to jump on the bandwagon…;)
      Still, here’s my chance to get in on the ground floor of the Texas Hold’em craze. You heard it here first, folks!!

    • #776009
      altotude
      Participant

      @maggie wrote:

      As an aside, the nice contemporary pub front to Tom’s Bar in Mountrath (Ithink it got an AAI special mention a few years ago) is being replaced with another pastiche traditional surround. It looks a mess, the windows to first floor level and the doors at ground floor seem to be staying. It must have changed ownership recently. Pity.

      I drive past there every now and then going down to Limerick. Recently I noticed this and thought: “Hold on a second, wasn’t that pub quite a pleasant contemporary place, showing some signs of 20th century life in the village?”

      It’s interesting that people often accuse others of snobbery in criticising developments, etc. on grounds of taste. Each to their own, of course, but I really would like to see all the faux Georgian/Victorian/Palladian/Irish Traditional etc. styles stamped out. Irish people are very conservative, on many levels, and particularly when it comes to design. If they had a bit more interesting design foisted on them perhaps they might change and start to opt for contemporary approaches.

      On an anecdotal level I remember, as a student in UCC when the Glucksman Gallery was first proposed, that there were howls of derision from many quarters at the artists’ impressions of the finished building. When it was finished I don’t think there was a whole lot of local interest. Now that it’s an award winning building of international repute it’s like the Jewel in the Crown down there.

    • #776010
      Devin
      Participant

      Well we seem to have got a result here regarding the unauthorised works at Centra on Wellington Quay, as documented earlier in the thread: https://archiseek.com/content/showpost.php?p=49550&postcount=20

      The shopfront has been repainted in the last few days. However the colour is not exactly the same – it’s slightly lighter (for spite, or what?). And the shiny fascia and lettering are still in place, but I’m presuming they’re coming off in the next few days.
      .

    • #776011
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      Nice work, sir.

    • #776012
      a boyle
      Participant

      a planning enforcement has gone out a few weeks ago on eurocycles (south william street). obviously nothing has happened . is there something else i need to do ?

    • #776013
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Wait

      This is one I very much doubt they will let go

      Enforcement takes time particularly when the damage has already been done. This was spotted too late to injunct the owner/occupier but if it were a case of an unlawful demolition then immediate action would be required. In this case I have little doubt the sign will come down but like all legal matters the respondent has the benefit of timescales to provide justification which I imagine are being exhausted one by one

    • #776014
      a boyle
      Participant

      ok .

    • #776015
      urbanisto
      Participant

      It would seem the cat is finally starting to use her claws…..

      Full Development Description

      Retention permission is sought by Emcaol Ltd for retention of existing external shop front signage to existing retail unit at Centra Gresham House, corner of Cathal Brugha St and Marlborough St, Dublin 1.

      REFUSE PERMISSION
      1. The proposed development by reason of the materials, colour and extent of the signage, together with the application of corporate imaging would be contrary to the implementation of good shop front design, as provided for within the Dublin City Council ‘Shop Front Design Guide’ (2001) and the ‘Shop Front Design Guidelines for the O’Connell Street Area’ (2003). The proposed signage would be visually intrusive, would detract from the character of area, which is located adjacent to the O’Connell Street Architectural Conservation Area and would set an undesirable precedent for further similar developments in the vicinity. Thus, the proposed development would be contrary to the policies and objectives of the Dublin City Development Plan 2005-2011 and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area

      And

      Planning Permission sought by Ashglen Property Company Limited for provision of off-licence (18 sqm) subsidiary to the main retail use at Spar, Retail Unit 4, 35-41 Parnell Street, Dublin 1.

      ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
      1. The existing shopfront signage appears to be unauthorised. There are a proliferation of corporate colours and signs on the premises, including one no. projecting sign and a large number of stickers on the windows/doors. The applicant is requested to provide details of the grant of planning permission for the existing shopfront signage, including projecting sign to the premises. The applicants are advised to contact the Planning Authority, in this regard, prior to the submission of the Additional Information.

      Its seems DCC are making a conscious effort to rein in the convenience stores. I have notticed an increasing number of Planning Applications being refered to the Good Shopfront Design Guidelines.

    • #776016
      ChrisNugent
      Participant

      Has anyone seen The Crazy Carrot on Dame St? It used to be Balance for Health. It’s an abomination!

    • #776017
      cobalt
      Participant

      Sunday Times – 24th September 2006

      An Taisce in war on lurid shopfronts
      Colin Coyle

      THEY style themselves as shops “designed for the way we live today” but An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, has claimed that the “increasingly brash and lurid” shopfronts of convenience stores are destroying the fabric of Dublin.
      The planning watchdog has filed documents with the city council claiming that Spar, Centra and Londis “are showing an increasing contempt and disregard for planning laws and requirements”, and that their obtrusive, gaudy facades are ruining the capital’s historic streetscapes.

      Kevin Duff, a spokesman for An Taisce, says Centra and Spar are the chief offenders. “These shops are openly flouting planning regulations and there is now a significant level of unauthorised development and non-compliance with planning authority decisions in Dublin, where a new convenience store seemingly opens on a weekly basis,” he said.

      “We’ve identified at least 20 examples of these stores disregarding planning regulations. The city council is reluctant to get tough with them and doesn’t want to get involved in messy legal battles, but the situation is getting out of hand. It’s only a matter of time before it spreads to other urban areas.”

      The city council has issued enforcement orders against a number of convenience stores in recent months and admits that there have been a growing number of complaints from the public about the visual impact of such shops.

      “We have taken action against several shops recently, forcing them to remove unauthorised signs,” said Rory O’Byrne, an enforcement officer. “We’re not actively targeting convenience stores, but we do investigate any reports of unauthorised development.”

      An Taisce claims that when convenience stores open, they sometimes use cheap plastic signage emblazoned with their logos and claim that it is a temporary arrangement.

      Duff said: “There is a Londis on O’Connell Street, right in the heart of an area with its own special planning controls, that has had a temporary sign outside it for almost 18 months. The policy appears to be to establish themselves visually with a big, bold sign and leave it in place for as long as possible.”

      Londis admitted that erecting a permanent sign on its O’Connell Street store was taking longer than expected.

      Spar has also been known to erect bold plastic “temporary” shopfronts, Duff claims. “The Spar on Patrick Street had ‘temporary’ signage for eight months. It has finally been removed and replaced with a stainless steel sign, but it’s completely different to what was agreed with the city council.”

      Spar, Duff said, has opened several shops without securing planning permission for their facades first.

      “Over the past year a significant proportion of their stores in the city centre have been fitted with an internally illuminated protruding plastic box fascia. These boxes have a cheap downmarket appearance and fly in the face of basic shopfront design principles,” he said.

      Spar claims that it has a strong tradition of working closely with local authorities in all large European cities and is happy with its relationship with Dublin city council. “Spar takes it responsibilities in relation to planning very seriously,” it said.

      “We are in continuous dialogue with the city council through our architects in relation to store frontage and signage.”

      Centra claims that although its stores are individually owned by independent retailers, “store fronts have to conform to an agreed brand identity and quality standard as well as conforming to the planning requirements of the relevant local authority”.

      Duff cites a Spar on Mayor Street and a Centra on Capel Street as two models of restraint in shopfront design. “Both of those stores have discreet, simple designs, but these constitute a minority,” he said.

    • #776018
      Anonymous
      Participant

      A balanced article that wasn’t particularly unfair to any of the parties involved;

      the question is will Devin see a widespread use of the Guillotene for the most strident examples?

    • #776019
      markpb
      Participant

      @markpb wrote:

      I emailed planning enforment yesterday, guess I’ll have to wait and see what they say but from what you said (a boyle), I won’t be expecting a reply anytime soon. Here are some (low quality camera phone) photos of the place.

      Pic1
      Pic2

      I finally got a letter from DCC Planning Enforcement about this. They issued an enforcement order against them on the 16h. I wonder if it’ll make any difference.

      Have Eurocycles changed their front yet?

    • #776020
      wearnicehats
      Participant

      @markpb wrote:

      I finally got a letter from DCC Planning Enforcement about this. They issued an enforcement order against them on the 16h. I wonder if it’ll make any difference.

      Have Eurocycles changed their front yet?

      nope

    • #776021
      Rory W
      Participant

      Well Eurocycles/Eurobaby are a little bit braindead in my opinion – must be the only baby store in the world that is UPSTAIRS and HAS NO LIFT to bring a pram/buggy up.

      I’m sure those going in to buy a bike are fit enough to climb the stairs!!!

    • #776022
      archipimp
      Participant

      hey if eurocycles dont take that sign down i say we take it down for them if you know what i mean…maybe even start a campaign of terror against these offenders!!!

      im not sure if this is relevant but does anyone else think the massive yellow advertising on the front of the new ilac centre completly ruins the building?

    • #776023
      kite
      Participant

      😮 From the Sunday Independent 26-11-06

      Classy facades overshadowed by tat

      Sunday November 26th 2006

      IT’S still elegant, but like that glitzy cocktail dress that has been out on the tiles too many times, Grafton Street is looking a little shabby, careworn and missing a few sequins.

      In these final days of November, Ireland’s premier shopping street should be at its best, adorned in festive finery and thronged with happy shoppers buying the first of their Christmas gifts.

      The decorations are up, but the short stroll from Stephen’s Green to Westmoreland Street reveals that the most valuable real estate in the country has become bleak and a little tatty.

      It’s not helped by a litter bin at the Stephen’s Green end so brimmed with free sheets, coffee cups and other detritus of the streets that a passing drunk had no option but to leave the empty bottle of cheap vodka beside, but not in, the black bin.

      It is at this end of Grafton Street that the problems identified by the city council are most clearly evident. There are too many telephone shops, too many convenience stores and low-end souvenir shops.

      In quick succession the street that should be heaven has the garish procession of ugly retail units – the nightclub blue O2 telephone store, the Londis supermarket with its free-standing street displays of dated postcards, and the Vodafone shop painted in-your-face Manchester United red. On the opposite side of the street, the Camera Centre advertises its wares in a Texan-sized font. Understated it is not.

      It’s a depressing start, but there is a little relief further on. Zerep, Richard Allen and Sisley are coolly contemporary and pleasing to the eye, though the Laura Ashley shop – with its magnolia facade – is grubby.

      Dunnes Stores on Grafton Street is admittedly a very small outlet of this wealthy supermarket giant in terms of square feet of retail space, but it is surprising that Margaret Heffernan would allow one of her stores to look so shabby.

      It looks as though the painters were in, completed the undercoat and were called away to another job – never to return.

      The litter bins in the rest of Grafton Street have all been emptied and the ochre paving is clean and litter-free.

      There are other shops which deserve their spot on Grafton Street. Jigsaw, Miss Selfridge, Champion Sports – and even Burger King – with low-key signage, pass muster.

      Monsoon is a mid-market fashion shop, but its rich gold and mulberry makeover looks classy and the window dressers have done an outstanding job with their festive display. But Monsoon abuts the hideous HMV store dressed in a pink livery not seen in nature. It’s all rather depressing.

      What is strange is that the financial services stores that dot the street are the worst. The Permanent TSB building at the junction of Harry Street is a concrete bunker of unrelenting squalor.

      About 80,000 people walk up Grafton Street every day. It is shocking that some of the wealthiest institutions in the country don’t put their best foot forward.

      There are four nice shops in a row: Boodles, Karen Millen, Rocks and Peter Marks. All combine elegance with a contemporary feel. The old stonework of the block is showcased to good effect.

      Opposite, there is yet another phone shop. The Carphone Warehouse store looks as though it should be stuck in the backlands of an industrial estate off the Naas Road. It isn’t particularly ugly, just inappropriate in the middle of this pedestrian boulevard.

      When it first opened, designer label shrine BT2 had a certain urban chic – but it has dated badly. It looks half-finished rather than cutting edge these days.

      Bewley’s is still beautiful, but the great old lady of Grafton Street looks out on yet another phone shop – this time Meteor.

      Ernest Jones is a new jewellery outlet on Grafton Street, specialising in diamonds and watches. It has an elegant, stylish but very British shopfront which does not sit well on the street. The large coat of arms adornment ‘Bewley’s is still beautiful, but the great old lady of Grafton Street looks out on yet another phone shop – this time Meteor’

      might be more appropriate on Winchester High Street rather than the heart of ould Dublin.

      The dark green Body Shop store, like the brand itself, has relaxed into comfortable middle age. It’s reminiscent of looking through old albums at a car boot sale and finding an LP cover which, by its typeface alone, immediately catapults one back to house party in the early Seventies.

      Marks & Spencer is a fine store, elegant clean and inviting, but just along the street there is, yes that’s right, yet another phone shop – O2 Experience.

      Brown Thomas is a beacon of classy elegance, with a rather arty but beautiful window display on a carnival/circus theme, but on the opposite side of the street the Grafton Arcade is shuttered up and could definitely do with being power-hosed.

      The street peters out with a row of inoffensive but uninspiring shops. An exception is River Island. This is a fine shop front with a monochrome theme that is spare and bright.

      The worst by far is the AIB Service Centre – it’s dirty looking and does the financial services giant no favours. There is one more phone store – Vodafone again – and the final shop as you exit Grafton Street is the Mortgage Store. This is another financial services provider reluctant to speculate some of its profits on dressing up its real estate on the best pitch in Dublin. It’s bewildering, and sad.

      Jerome Reilly

    • #776024
      Devin
      Participant

      @archipimp wrote:

      hey if eurocycles dont take that sign down i say we take it down for them if you know what i mean…maybe even start a campaign of terror against these offenders!!!?

      Definitely archipimp. I’m with you on that!!

      [align=center:2c917qza]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[/align:2c917qza]

      Centra Wellington Quay is still giving trouble:

      The originally-approved and executed shopfront, early &#8216]http://img106.imageshack.us/img106/4130/dscn1619qe4.jpg[/IMG]

      Following unauthorised repainting, addition of shiny fascia and larger, internally-illuminated signage lettering, March ’06.

      Following a complaint to DCC, a planning enforcement notice to comply with the approved plans was served to them. To give an impression of compliance, they repainted the shopfront (a few shades lighter than the original), but left the new signage and fascia in place. And things have actually got worse since then; they’ve carried out new unauthorised developments: addition of a red digital display over the door and an internally-illuminated sign in the window, even though you can read down through the planning permission here and see strict conditions about additional signage on the shopfront or near the windows – <a href="http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=2391/05&theTabNo=2&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%20Centra Wellington Quay Decision

      The nighttime effect, next to classical buildings, is pretty disastrous.

      Centra Wellington Quay also has an entrance onto Temple Bar Square. Here was the originally-approved frontage, which was designed to integrate into the area in a low-key manner.

      Too low-key obviously, because they’ve added a red digital display over the door here too and advertising boards on the ‘arty’ gates leftover from the previous tenant. These boards are on/off at the moment following additional complaints.

    • #776025
      TLM
      Participant

      Disgraceful … keep up the good complaining work!

    • #776026
      Devin
      Participant

      Whatever about Centra, Spar, as crestfield said earlier, are by far the worst convenience store offenders. They are in an entire league of their own due to a combination of an aggressive expansion programme in the city centre, vile shopfront design and a Jim Mansfield-style attitude towards applying for planning permission.

      This plastic hanging box is their standard shop fascia sign, in use on most of their city-centre shops. It is an absolutely ridiculous looking thing and would never get planning permission through the normal channels. It flies in the face of basic shopfront design principles, including the shop signage provisions of DCC’s own Development Plan, which says: ”The signage relating to any commercial ground floor use should be contained within the fascia board of the shopfront. The lettering employed should either be painted on the fascia, or consist of individually mounted solid letters mounted on the fascia” (Section 15.32.4).

      It is hard to believe that such a situation could have developed, but although this plastic fascia sign is in use on the vast majority of their shops all around town, not a single one of them has planning permission.

      Spar’s website is very helpful, though not in a way it could have intended. The ‘Store Locator’ section gives the exact address of every Spar. You put the address into DCC’s Planning Search Page and invariably it turns out that there is no relevant planning permission for shopfronts/signage at the given address or planning permission/retention has been refused (but ignored).

      Nassau Street – no planning permission.

      Talbot Street – no planning permission.

      Thomas Street – no planning permission.

      Dorset Street – beside St. George’s Church – no planning permission.

      You’ll search in vain for an approved planning permission for Spar signage on Ellis Quay, beside the Calatrava bridge.

      .

      Amid the discreetly-signed shops and cafes along Millennium Walk, Spar’s signage stands out like a cheap lurid decoration, and – surprise surprise – it has no planning permission. They sought permission for it in August 2005 and put it up before the decision was made. It was refused – see Condition 2 in thumbnail (above) – but they left it up anyway, and a year and a half later it’s still in place despite planning enforcement complaints.

      Sometimes an illegally-opened Spar will trip itself up by making a subsequent planning application:

      Metro newsagent on Lower Abbey Street turned into a Spar sometime in 2005, but didn’t bother applying for permission for the new shopfront and signage. Then in December that year it applied for additional off-licence use. The DCC planner was sharp, spotted that the shopfront was new and made this Additional Information request: “The shopfront and signage to the front of the shop appear to be new. The applicant shall provide details of the grant of planning permission for the new shopfront and projecting sign to the premises” (click <a href="http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=6115/05&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%20View Documents here to get details). Spar shitted itself and hurriedly made a separate planning application for retention of the unauthorised shopfront & signage.

      The additional off-license use was granted permission. The unauthorised shopfront & signage was refused in June 2006 – see here: <a href="http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=2564/06&theTabNo=2&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%20Spar Lower Abbey Street signage refusal – but remains in place seven months later, even though it is located within the O’Connell Street Architectural Conservation Area, which has its own Special Planning Control Scheme repressing uses such as convenience stores, and even its own specially published Shopfront Design Guidelines.

      After the long saga of its refurbishment, St. Mary’s Church/Keating’s pub came into its own last summer with crowds sitting out in the railed area and a good atmosphere. Then what happened? Of course … the picture just wouldn’t be complete … a Spar opens right opposite at 53 Mary Street – as always with no planning permission for its nasty red & white shopfront & signage.

      [align=center:2nvbyfbg]~~~~~~~~~[/align:2nvbyfbg]

      And they’re still opening – another on Dorset Street (below) towards the end of last year, where you turn down for O’Connell Street. No p.p.

      Go away Spar. We don’t want any more of you. Dragging our streets down with your tasteless lurid shopfronts and purporting to reflect our lifestyles with your bad wine selection and polluted cuisine-de-muc breadrolls full of hydrogenated fat.
      We have had enough.
      .

    • #776027
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      Can a citizen be prosecuted for criminal damage if the damage is done to an illegal structure?:rolleyes:

      Again, great work Devin. Stay on the bastards.

    • #776028
      alonso
      Participant

      @ctesiphon wrote:

      Can a citizen be prosecuted for criminal damage if the damage is done to an illegal structure?:rolleyes:
      .

      only if they’re caught

    • #776029
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Trojan work Devin – very impressive. It really has to be acknowledged the painful amount of repetitive, detailed work that goes into following up these unauthorised works. It is the mundane reality of monitoring development which goes unpaid, un-praised, and unacknowledged by the majority who don’t have the time or will to pursue the cause of good planning.

      The sheer scale of the flagrant breaching of regulations by such an established, so-called ‘reputable’ firm like Spar is genuinely shocking. It’s astonishingly widespread, replicated over and over again at every location. Obviously it’s the franchise operators that are central in this, but it’s all still happening under the brand and image bombardment pursued by the parent organisation on a wider level. That new generic nameplate yoke apparently issued by Spar Ireland says it all: something that can be tacked onto virtually anything, in almost any environment. It has clearly originated from Head Office as a standardised unit to be rolled out across the city, and yet with such a wealth of experience in retail planning, one would really wonder as to how they think this in any way conforms to shopfront guidelines and what is deemed to be appropriate development. Hence one can only come to the conclusion that with such an expensive venture (design etc), from such an astute, savvy organisation, they had every intention to churn this rebranding out in the knowledge that DCC is either a soft touch, or in the (probably to be expected) hope that nobody would notice.

      As with the above stores, Spar on Upper O’Connell Street (featured before) in the elegant Lynam’s Hotel building equally continues to flagrantly flout planning laws, in what is supposed to be the most rigorously controlled urban environment in the country. Having applied for permission to erect a “new internally lit polished steel fascia sign, new SPAR & Dublin Bus projecting signs & new lighting over front elevation”, they were rejected outright by DCC in early 2005. They comprehensively claimed:

      “The proposed development by reason of the material and colour of the internally illuminated aluminium fascia panel, the material and projection of the ‘SPAR’ and ‘BUS STOP’ projecting signs and the application of corporate imaging would be inconsistent with the policies and objectives of the O’Connell Street Architectural Conservation Area designation, would be out of character with nos. 63-64 O’ Connell Street protected structures and would be contrary to the implementation of good shop front design, as provided for within the Dublin City Council ‘Shop front Design Guide’ and the ‘Shop Front Design Guidelines for the O’Connell Street Area’.”

      From what I can gather, this exact sign regardless exists over the premises at present, though possibly without the illuminated element – perhaps the intention of the application was to alter this to that proposed. If the sign is anything go by, it’s no wonder DCC rejected this token attempt at subtlety with silver lettering (which is itself quite reasonable), given the crude metal facia backplate onto which it and a logo have been mounted.

      In any event, Spar simply hung a (prohibited) banner over the sign, and to this very day it still hangs there, within yards of the GPO.

      Why should it be up to the public to sort these things out on such a principal thoroughfare? It’s simply not on that nobody in DCC Planning appears to be monitoring the principal thoroughfares of the city, again probably due to unfortunate under-resourcing on a wider level.

      Similarly regarding Londis across the road – their ghastly ‘temporary sign’ will farcically be two years old in May, even in spite of featuring in a national newspaper, and being present throughout all of the planning for the 1916 Commemoration where it formed a delightful backdrop to the brass band. Again why should it be up to us to point out brazen indiscipline like this?

      And on a related topic, there’s absolutely no excuse for genuine ‘temporary’ signs to be as garish as the above. These too should be severely clamped down on – the same regarding banners. If you can’t erect a basic unobstrusive sign for a couple of weeks, you don’t erect anything.

      It’s very easy for us all to sit in our armchairs and chatter about these matters, so if you feel suitably riled by the sharp practice of Spar stores across the capital, write to them. Head Office is:

      Spar Ireland Limited
      Greenhills Road
      Walkinstown
      Dublin 12
      Ireland

      Or alternatively e-mail. As “being at the heart of communities across Ireland”, they’re sure to take your comments graciously on board. They do after all “want to hear from you” so fill in their form on their website where “a member of staff will contact you shortly”.

      http://www.spar.ie/site/contact-us.cfm?pageId=824&sectionId=25&level=1

      For once, a non-planning related point you raised at the end Devin is that that infuriates me most about these convenience stores. Every one in the city, no matter where, you’re greeted with the same mind-numbing glowing walls of refrigerated units of mineral water and soft drinks, ranks of cheap chocolate and crisps with absolutely no selection right across the city, the obligatory rack of stodgy salt, saturated fat and sugar laden pastries and white breads, the roar of an air curtain trying to curtail the bucketloads of artificially heated air belching out through the permanent gaping hole in the streetscape, and all dazzlingly lit with the subtlety of an arc lamp on steroids. Do take the Convenience Store Test for yourself: simply try sourcing a bar of plain chocolate in a branded convenience store anywhere in Dublin City – preferably not a slab of Bournville – and see how far you get.

      It is so depressing to observe what has become of our former newsagents, and the impact it is having on our streets, even after dark. Yes, the modern streamlined interior design approach of the ‘flagship’ stores is a welcome improvement on what we have had, however they are in the extreme minority. It is laughable that Spar’s timber-fronted Merrion Row store is depicted as if the norm on their website. Indeed their blurb in a media pack about the outlet is quite hilarious – clearly they deem only a 500m radius of Government Buildings to be of architectural merit in the city:

      “despite planning limitations, [the building] offers passers-by a great view of the store and particularly its coffee, smoothie and sandwich offerings. The gold signage – a limitation of planning – works for the location far better than the traditional livery might. In such a mature area of the City, so close to government buildings and other areas of architectural interest, bright neon signage would set the wrong tone for the store anyway. Since there are very few parking spaces nearby on one of the busiest streets in the capital, the number of customers in cars attracted by the familiar SPAR livery would also be limited – negating the need for it.

      So they openly admit what we already knew: 1) their signage is tawdry and tacky, and 2) is used for maximum impact on the streetscape.

    • #776030
      TLM
      Participant

      Some great work there on drawing attention to this scourge … I’ll certainly fire an email off to Spar.

    • #776031
      Devin
      Participant

      Cheers TLM.

      @GrahamH wrote:

      Spar on Upper O’Connell Street … in the elegant Lynam’s Hotel building … continues to flagrantly flout planning laws … Having applied for permission to erect a “new internally lit polished steel fascia sign, new SPAR & Dublin Bus projecting signs & new lighting over front elevation”, they were rejected outright by DCC in early 2005 … [and] simply hung a banner over the sign, and to this very day it still hangs there, within yards of the GPO.

      Yep, that’s it! It’s all a game. They won’t tone it down ‘til Londis across the road tones it down.

      The stainless steel lettering – existing behind the banner in the Upper O’Connell Street example – is their default signage, used in locations where they won’t dare try the plastic box. Here it is used on Mayor Street in the docklands – in this case because they had to tow the line with the DDDA’s schemes & guidelines for the new buildings. As you say Graham, it’s a reasonable design.

      This was the design to be used on Nos. 51 to 53 Patrick Street, beside the Cathedral, but not before a bit of messing around:

      So, here we are, planning application 4223/05 – approved October 2005 – indicating “stainless steel back lit lettering” to the three protected structures beside the Cathedral, with signs corresponding to the original building plot widths. So was this what was put up? You must be joking …

      What’s needed here is a nice bit of “temporary” eyecatching signage to get ourselves up and running, eh? That stainless steel stuff just wouldn’t make a sufficient announcement! (even though there is no provision in the Planning Acts for temporary signage).

      So finally, 8 months later, stainless steel lettering was installed. But instead of one Spar sign in the centre and subsidiary signs to each side as indicated in the plans, they’ve lobbed two (larger) Spar signs evenly across the three buildings, destroying the plot rhythm.

      DCC Planning Enforcement are batting these complaints back. They said what was put up here was acceptable, close enough the plans. They refuse to acknowledge the concept of respecting plot subdivisions.

    • #776032
      Morlan
      Participant

      Fair play for posting all this, Devin. It’s an absolute discrace, but I’m more angry at DCC than Spar. DCC wouldn’t give a toss if it wasn’t for people complaining about it 😡

    • #776033
      Devin
      Participant

      Yeah, true. It’s ultimately DCC rather than Spar – despicable as they are – that are to blame for this. They have let it get utterly out of hand. The fine words of Dev Plans, Special Planning Control Schemes, Area Plans and other documents ring hollow. It’s time to take control, DCC.

    • #776034
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Yes I agree Devin….. well done all round. I know An Taisce have already made a case to the Planning Enforcment unit and received some good press and it is easy to see your point! Convenience stores are surely the new scourge of the city.

    • #776035
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Signage is just another occupancy cost; ISME went nuts about the minimum wage and told us that jobs would be decimated in small business as these costs could never be assumed.

      Signage is a once off cost that if properly regulated will improve; a freind manages a victorian terrace high street property with 22 different shopfronts with 12 different dimesions it is grotesque and the landlord will have to spend about 100,000 in contributions towards new shopfronts to have the balance of the terrace restored. This was avoidable had a predessor been more careful in granting consent or inspecting what was being errected without consent, this has affected rental levels at the scheme and investment value as a result.

      Any news on Eurocycles?

      I think I will be looking at a new bicycle soon

    • #776036
      jackwade
      Participant

      Any news on Eurocycles?

      Its still there today in all its ugliness. Sirocco ( kebab place on Fownes St) hasn’t changed either.:mad:

    • #776037
      Anonymous
      Participant

      That Sirocco shopfront is horrendous and must be getting close to retention at this stage as it went in in late 2004.

      http://www3.westminster.gov.uk/spgs/publications/Shopfronts,%20blinds%20and%20signs.pdf

      The above guide has a lot of relevance to Central Dublin

    • #776038
      archipimp
      Participant

      well eurocycles is still there ruining a whole street… and i get a feeling they keep replacing it with a slightly bigger version every week or so just to keep the shock value(as if it needed help to do that)!

    • #776039
      Devin
      Participant

      Meant to put this up:

      Spar pays €950,000 for rival lease
      Ciarán Hancock

      The operators of Spar’s flagship convenience store on Merrion Row in Dublin, paid €950,000 in December to buy out the lease on a rival Centra store next door.

      The lease was held by Enda Martyn, an experienced retailer, who runs three other Centra shops in Dublin and one in Limerick.

      This highly-unusual move by BWG, which operates the Spar and Mace franchises here and is one of the State’s biggest grocery wholesalers, has effectively reduced competition on the bustling street, which is close to St Stephen’s Green and Government Buildings.

      The Centra chain is operated and supplied by Musgrave, a large Cork-based rival of BWG.

      It is understood Mr Martyn’s shop experienced a €10,000 a week fall in its sales after the Spar shop opened in January 2006.

      The Centra store, which was close to the Huguenot cemetery, was long and narrow, offering little opportunity for Mr Martyn to develop a significant rival food and coffee offering. It closed in December with staff offered transfers to other Centra stores.

      It is understood the deal was brokered by John Clohisey, who, along with Leo Crawford and John O’Donnell, acquired BWG for €390 million last October. The lease on the Centra shop is expected to be offered for non-retail purposes. Spar is not expected to expand its Merrion Row outlet.

      Spar’s shop covers 3,000 sq ft and was formerly an Irish Ferries office. It opened in January 2006 as part of a €4 million pilot scheme of a new store format at three outlets in Ireland that offered an enhanced food service.

      It includes an Insomnia coffee shop, the Treehouse juice and smoothie bar and a substantial food-to-go counter, offering hot and cold meals. It also has a seating area and a large off-licence.

      The Spar shop is thought to require turnover each week of about €110,000 to break even. Removing Centra from the street has given it the opportunity to enhance its own sales.

      In a statement, Centra said Mr Martyn had “traded successfully” at Merrion Row for three years.

      “Spar had, for six months, continually offered to buy the leasehold of Centra, Merrion Row, from Enda Martyn. Enda has accepted a generous offer for the leasehold.”

      This move calls into question the viability of some convenience stores, with some areas seeming to be close to saturation in some areas.

      On Monday, Centra said its sales in 2006 increased by 17 per cent to €1.2 billion. It opened 47 new stores at a cost of €51 million and spent €24 million revamping 64 others.

      Donal Horgan, Centra’s managing director, said the group plans to open 37 additional shops in 2007.

      © 2007 The Irish Times, March 3, 2007

      The Centra shopfront that was bought out by Spar had no planning permission anyway – there’s a surprise. Look at the way a crude new fascia had been slapped on with no design coordination with the existing historic shopfront detailing. They applied for retention for this after it was put up and it was refused – <a href="http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=3153/03&theTabNo=2&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%20Ref. 3153/03. Imagine – a convenience store shopfront refused retention in November 2003 remains in place until it is bought out 4 years later by another convenience store chain with an even higher disregard for planning. What a sham!

    • #776040
      Daragh
      Participant

      ”This move calls into question the viability of some convenience stores, with some areas seeming to be close to saturation in some areas.”

      Well you don’t say! I’m so surprised, and I have to say a little disappointed, that this type of thing hasn’t happened earlier and more often. As I always say here, I just can’t get over the number of convenience stores in the city. How thay all manange to survive when the market seems to be so over saturated is beyond me, but as they’re all still open, they must be getting by. Hopefully, with increased costs and rent etc. more stores will begin to feel the pinch and start to close down. Let’s hope some of those convenience stores are the ones in and around Grafton Street!

    • #776041
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Just an example of the reliance on the processed rubbish these places sell, I frequented no less than four of these ‘convenience’ stores today before I could find an edible banana: Londis on Upper O’Connell Street finally came up trumps, perhaps unsurprisingly also one of the few stores that actually has planning permission.

      Because they all stock the same stuff and are even operated by the same people, far from increasing competition, many of these convenience stores are actually curtailing both choice and value. There’s simply no range in fruit, in confectionary or in fresh breads and cakes. Of course these are only ‘convenience’ stores, but the problem is that they appear to be pushing out independent operators who could potentially offer greater variety and better value. The market has become so saturated that they’re now opening up on both sides of the same street, evident on Talbot Street, O’Connell Street and even College Green where there’s two Londis stores directly facing each other.

      An improved policy hereonin would be to try as far as possible to consolidate this market, by encouraging larger stores that can accommodate better ranges and store fit-outs, and looking unfavourably upon the smaller ones that breed like rabbits across the city, especially on main thoroughfares. They’re probably perceived as the ‘lifeblood’ of a healthy city in some planning quarters, but they’re not if they offer no choice or value for city residents; the proliferation of new apartment developments has after all been one of the principal drivers of their expansion.

      How do other European cities deal with catering for local and passing trade, and convenience stores in general?

    • #776042
      Devin
      Participant

      This is it; where elsewhere an artisan deli opens, in Dublin a Spar opens. They say people get the cities they want, so maybe we have to look at ourselves. What do all these nasty convenience stores say about us?

      Convenience stores/newsagents don’t seem to exist as such on the continent. They’re a UK & Irish thing. Or if there is a newsagent it will be only that – newspapers and magazines. In Spain they have little tobacco & news shops.

    • #776043
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @Devin wrote:

      Convenience stores/newsagents don’t seem to exist as such on the continent. They’re a UK & Irish thing. Or if there is a newsagent it will be only that – newspapers and magazines. In Spain they have little tobacco & news shops.

      Not really in agreement, Devin. The small convenience stores did exist in their hundreds but they were killed by “progress” in the shape of high rents, unwillingness by the younger generation to work the long hours for such little money and the expansion of the hypermarche in the outer suburbs. In France, the failure of French wholesaler Felix Potin in the 1990’s killed off hundreds of small local shops particularly around Paris.

      Remaining in France, government intervention, licensing and support from strong trade unions has not helped the small shops in city centres. Shop opening hours, or permission to hold a sale is regulated, (the soldes du janvier) and there is a very strict licensing scheme for the Tabacs (they also sell stamps), paper kiosks, etc. Don’t forget that Virgin’s Richard Branson nearly went to jail for Sunday trading and there also was a big law case involving Louis Vuitton for the same. Buying the baguette on the way home is still possible in most areas but when you finish work at 7 (as most French managers do) it is much ore attractive to do the shopping in one visit to a hypermarche at the weekend.
      KB

    • #776044
      Devin
      Participant

      I’m sure they have suffered alright, but seem to be still making efforts to protect the local shops. Viva la baguette! Piece here:

      DEFENDING AGAINST ‘LA LONDONISATION’

      Other European countries are protecting their shops from the predatory claws of the multi national brands, writes Deirdre McQuillan , Fashion Editor.

      Around where I stay in Paris during fashion week, I am surrounded by cafes, restaurants and small shops selling everything from kitchenware and lingerie to jewellery, cakes, clothes and antiques. Small independent retail and artisanal outlets are part of the attraction and pleasure of the French capital, along with great butchers, vegetable, fruit and cheese shops, not to speak of florists and bakeries at nearly every turn. It’s a standard of life that French city centres are accustomed to and its vibrancy and survival are down to French planning laws.

      In l973 the Royer Act was passed to protect small shops, improve the quality of urban life and prevent “inordinate growth of new forms of distribution that squeeze out small entrepreneurs”. Its Commission for Commercial Urbanisation evaluates each planning application on merit and is entrusted to ensure a good balance of all forms of commerce. There are regulations on direct selling, discount selling and advertising and on the encouragement of artisan trading. Its chambers of commerce are far more powerful and have greater responsibilities for trading than their Irish equivalents.

      In other parts of Europe it’s the same. In Rome, another shopping haven, landmark shops are protected from the predatory claws of multinational brands and franchises by an alliance called the Association of Rome’s Historic Shops, which makes shopping and strolling for the visitor such a treat. The association promotes “and defends the values” of shops that have existed for over a hundred years and are considered to be institutions by Romans. Many are still in the ownership of the same families and are cherished emblems of the traditions and culture of the city.

      Though Italy under Berlusconi welcomed globalisation, Rome has still managed to resist Starbucks (which has nearly 500 outlets in the UK) and when an intended McDonalds site was announced near the Spanish Steps, it prompted a massive demonstration that propelled the fledgling slow food movement into the fast lane. The McDonalds did eventually open, but the golden arches were noticeable only for being uncharacteristically discreet.

      According to a 2001 report, most OECD countries have special regulations that apply to retail premises, over and above regular urban planning regulations. Only five countries, of which Ireland is one, do not have special measures. Dublin City Council, however, is in the process of putting special planning controls in place to micromanage the balance of retail uses in designated city-centre areas.

      Copenhagen was transformed from a declining urban centre into the thriving and reinvigorated city it is today thanks to the work of the visionary architect Jan Gehl. “If you asked people 20 years ago why they went to central Copenhagen they would have said it was to shop,” he says. “But if you ask them today, they would say because they want to go to town.” Note the difference. To walk down Stroget, the Danish equivalent of Grafton Street, is to encounter appealing diversity and local character, small shops alongside specialist Danish department stores with plenty of places to sit and linger. Gehl formulated 12 steps, including places to sit, as central to city management strategies. In Barcelona, Las Ramblas is another successful public place at the heart of that city’s revival.

      However, the picture in the UK, as in Ireland, is quite different. So-called retail-led development like urban malls or big chain store shopping has resulted in places which, according to Anna Minton in a recent article in the Guardian, are privatised enclaves “that look the same, are cut off from local people and the local environment and are characterised instead by a fake, theme park atmosphere”. She reports that there is a growing body of evidence that the replacement of independently owned shops isolates people and increases depression. “Having a thriving public life in cities does not depend on the types of shops, but on the approach to the place as a whole,” she argues.

      The French call the trend for a metropolis overrun by mobile-phone shops and fast food restaurants “la Londonisation” and have introduced regulations banning half of the 70,000 shops in Paris from ever becoming owned by such operations. The use of certain shops is safeguarded, so that a boulangerie remains a foodshop and a bookshop or greengrocer can’t be another multiple chain outlet. As other European capitals arrest a trend now proliferating around this country, the message is clear: don’t hollow out the heart of your city and keep it vibrant, otherwise watch its demise.

      © 2006 The Irish Times – August 12, 2006

      http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/newsfeatures/2006/0812/1155291279765.html

    • #776045
      alonso
      Participant

      I reckon Dublin is the only city in Europe where at 5 am it’s not a disaster if you run out of smokes, milk, newspapers, waifos, coca cola, bogroll, deodorant, dog food, crisps, hair gel, porn, toothpaste and fairy liquid, coz you’re guaranteed there’s a spar/mace/centra/garage looming around the next corner with it’s numbing glow soaking the pavement in front of you…

      While I’m not advocating allowing retail in the city to die a la Londonisation or “Tallaghtfornication” (c) the proliferation of vomit-worthy muck into our old streets has gone beyond saturation

    • #776046
      manifesta
      Participant

      Death to the old order, to local character, to the bourgeois boulangerie. Bravely we shall usher in the new generation of crap, of poets praising the mucky neon street glow of Spars and Centras. When the poets die, we will cast the wrecking ball upon their houses and name bridges after them. Bravely, boldly, let the vitrolite glow. Death, death to planning and reason!

      Give me convenience or give me death!

    • #776047
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Isn’t this a thread about shopfronts?

      Convenience stores in Dublin are streets ahead of what you find in the UK in terms of product offering; it is a very successful formula and has done much to prevent the total Tesco-isation of the retail market in Ireland.

      The problem in many ways is that the market is too successful and with two dominant chains (Musgraves & BWG) the market has become too aggressive. With the objective at times almost seeming to be removing the others market share as opposed to developing a sustainable market and profitable revenue streams through superior location strategy.

      My major gripe with these retailers is that they are so busy trying to get one over on each other at times that they have lost sight of the wider marketplace. They have stopped to look at lower profile city centre sites where rental costs are a fraction of prime pitch rents as is the norm in major cities and that like mobile phone operators they are looking at signage opportunities more as billboard opportunities as part of their wider retail strategy as opposed to the occupancy costs vs net revenue as stand alone ventures.

      Get the signage in order and there is little to complain about other than some of the prices individual units charge for the most generic of products which often gives a very wide selection to pay top prices upon.

    • #776048
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Poster ban on 3 Dublin streets
      From:ireland.com
      Tuesday, 3rd April, 2007

      Posters advertising rallies or political meetings are to be banned from three Dublin streets under new regulations adopted by the city council last night.

      Under the rules the posters will be banned from O’Connell Street, Grafton Street and Henry Street.

      Election posters are subject to different rules.

      The council also adopted new planning regulations to prevent the proliferation of fast-food outlets, estate agent offices and other named businesses on Grafton Street.

      In the future, planning permission will be required for newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets, off-licences and pharmacies. Some businesses, including phone shops and fast-food outlets, are be deemed “not permissible”.

      Under the previous scheme, shop owners could change the use of all or part of their premises without reference to the council.

      DCC need some proper PR yesterday.

      Here they have introduced one of the most progressive reforms in zoning yet and head the press release ‘posters banned’ less than a week after granting a foreign firm a concession arrangement worth multi millions for nothing.

      I think someone at a very high level in DCC needs to come down into the street and listen to a few Dublin 8 types to get a sense of how these moves are being portrayed by the public. I automatically thought of a particular aran sweater clad shell to sea campaigner tearing his hair out about this when I read the piece on RTE lastnight instead of some order finally being granted to the main shopping precincts.

      The only use I don’t get in this are estate agents which generally tend to be located in well sub-prime locations with DNG probably paying the highest rent for their trinity St office in the City in terms of retail rent.

    • #776049
      Rory W
      Participant

      Shop signs have never been uglier. A stroll down the high street has turned into optical torture

      Charlie Brooker
      Monday April 23, 2007
      The Guardian

      I live in a town you may have heard of. It is called London. In many ways, it is a great place – excellent local amenities, a giant ferris wheel, and more than a few famous faces (Toby Anstis lives here, as does that woman off Holby City – you know, the nursey one). But there is a downside, too. London – like many other places – has a cancer; an unwelcome phenomenon that has been gradually spreading over the past decade, and is now reaching saturation point. I am talking, of course, about modern laser-printed uPVC retail signage.

      Shop fronts have never been uglier. I am not talking about the big chains here – they have spent millions designing their logos. They tend to look crisp and clean and, occasionally, even demure. I have got nothing against, say, Nando’s. No, I am annoyed by the little guy – the pound shops, the cheapo grocers, the off-licences and the takeaways with their horrid, shrieking signs. Frankly, I could not give a toss if Tesco bulldozed the lot of them and turned the entire nation into one huge supermarket. At least there would be some typographic consistency.

      A few years ago, shopkeepers had three basic options: 1) paint the store front yourself; 2) hire a professional to paint it for you; 3) buy some metal or plastic lettering and screw it over the door. Now, there is a fourth option: get a bunch of clueless, cut-price bastards to design a banner on a computer in six minutes flat, stretch it to fit and print it out using some hideous modern laserjet device filled with waterproof inks the colour of sick.

      As a result, we live in a cluttered optical hell of carelessly stretched-and-squashed typefaces and colour schemes that clash so violently they give you vertigo. Stroll down the average high street and it is like being assailed by gaudy pop-ups on the internet. It makes your eyes want to spin inward and puke down their own sockets.

      As if thoughtless font abuse were not enough, some signs even incorporate scanned photographs; a garish snap of some glistening meat surrounded by a yellow Photoshop “haze” effect, hovering over an electric blue background, flanked by the words KEBAB DUNGEON in bright red, foot-high Comic Sans crushed to 75% of its usual width. Jesus. Why not just punch me in the face and have done with it?

      The overall effect is depressing and disorientating. One computer-assisted eyesore after another, jostling for position, kicking good taste in the nuts. Surely this is more than the human mind can process? I would not be at all surprised to discover that the local crime rate rises each time one of these poxy signs go up. It is enough to put almost anyone in a bad mood.

      That is not just idle speculation. Well, all right, it is. But there is little doubt that environment affects mood. That is why we tend to paint our bedroom walls soothing, neutral, off-white shades as opposed to frantic lime green with Day-Glo orange swastikas. When I walk the streets of the tiny Oxfordshire village in which I grew up, my mind feels clearer. I can concentrate in a way that simply isn’t possible in London, where my subconscious is too busy trying to filter out the billboards and the lettering and the POUNDLAND ANY ITEM £1 OR LESS.

      Laser-printed uPVC shop signs are an atrocity. A sanctioned act of vandalism. They should be outlawed or, at the very least, be put through some kind of approval process in which a panel of graphic designers inspects each proposed sign, rejecting those with squashed typography or obnoxious colour schemes.

      Something has got to be done because it is only going to get worse. You know what will be coming next: animated shop signs with moving “wallpaper” backgrounds. Storefronts resembling god-awful homepages from 1998. Row upon row of them. Visual bedlam wherever you turn. Two months of that and our cities are going to be over-run with screaming maniac gangs; hitherto law-abiding citizens driven insane without knowing why, like the demented hordes from 28 Days Later.

      It is your fault, shopkeepers. It is your ugly font-abusing fault.

    • #776050
      hutton
      Participant

      @Charlie Brooker wrote:

      It makes your eyes want to spin inward and puke down their own sockets.

      Quote of the week – invite him to Dublin.

    • #776051
      Devin
      Participant

      Wexford Street here would be a bit like that article describes. And Parnell, Talbot, Dorset and Capel Streets to some degree. It’s a pity – the secondary shopping streets just seem to get worse, with no hope for good design.

    • #776052
      Devin
      Participant

      A new Carroll’s Irish Gift Store on Suffolk Street (within the Grafton Street ACA) is using 10,000 megawatts of light to announce itself. You would think that the adjoining restaurants in this picture are closed for business, but they are open.
      But you see it’s their new flagship store. Ah fine then, use as much light as you like …

      The Scheme of Special Planning Control for Grafton Street states:

      ‘3.3.10 Ilumination
      – Illumination of the shopfront should be discreet, either by concealed tubing where the fascia details permit or by rear illumination of the original mletters
      – The colouring and intensity of illumination shall be complementary to the overall shopfront design and architectural context’

      Speaking of Carroll’s, the Guinness shop on Westmoreland Street – which is really just another Carroll’s in disguise – has applied to replace its unauthorised shopfront with a permanent one: <a href="http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=5017/07&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%20Ref. 5017/07. The council have requested additional information on it, though with the state of shops along here, I can’t imagine they’re in any hurry to respond …

      As GrahamH covered elsewhere, a Supermac’s opened on Westmoreland Street in late 2007 where Barnies Café had been, and Beshoff’s before that. This is a very dark development. Under the O’Connell Street plan, the fast food restaurants were supposed to be decreasing in number, not increasing.

      It’s with DCC planning enforcement at the moment. The issue is to determine whether or not a new fast food restaurant at this address is exempted development. While the Beshoff’s fish restaurant that had operated there for many years was technically a fast food restaurant (suggesting a new fast food would not require CoU permission) it had ceased business since circa 2004, so a new fast food restaurant is likely subject to the O’Connell Street Special Planning Control Scheme which said that there are ‘no locations in the area of Area of Special Planning Control that are considered suitable for additional fast food outlets’.

      [align=center:343n4l7n]~~~~~~[/align:343n4l7n]

      This stretch of Westmoreland Street, between the quays & Fleet Street, is now I think worse than the infamous O’Connell Street burger strip. Just look at the uses, starting at the quay end:

      CONVENIENCE STORE/OFF LICENSE – double-front Londis, beer stacked in the windows
      PADDYWHACKERY – double-front Carroll’s
      PHARMACY – shock normal use!
      FAST FOOD – Abrakebabra
      PADDYWHACKERY – with unauthorised Guinness shopfront
      FAST FOOD – new Supermac’s
      ACCESSORIES SHOP – or something. Does anyone know what Claire’s actually sells?
      VACANT – double front of legendary Dublin café lying waste; though DCC have just granted permission for it to be turned into a shop
      PUBLIC HOUSE – the only part of the former Bewley’s concern to have survived
      NEWSAGENT/PADDYWHACKERY – Coleman’s newsagent, more than half of which is given over to paddywhackery

      To cap it off, I suggest the pharmacy is turned into a Paddy Powers!

    • #776053
      fergalr
      Participant

      Em…people need to see the new Polish Store on Aston Quay. It is jaw droppingly bad. Did you know that the national colours of Poland are red and white? You will once you see it!!!
      I’m not kidding, if you were irritated about Centra….:eek:

    • #776054
      Devin
      Participant

      I saw a very bad red & white Polish one on Capel Street.

      .

      The takeover of Dublin by Spar continues at this former Centra, D’Olier Street, with de rigueur deterioration in visual amenity.

      I see Best menswear at the Spire is closing down. Pity, it was one of the few shops on O’Connell Street to fit into the ‘Champs Elysee shops’ vision of the 1998 IAP. What will replace it? If you look at the three adjoining shops – a Carroll’s, an Abrakebabra and a sex shop – the signs are not good. Maybe Spar would consider taking over the lease (shriek!)

      Still in the O’Connell ACA, a double-front poundshop recently opened on Abbey Street Lr. Are we winning or losing?

    • #776055
      fergalr
      Participant

      @Devin wrote:

      I see Best menswear at the Spire is closing down. Pity, it was one of the few shops on O’Connell Street to fit into the ‘Champs Elysee shops’ vision of the 1998 IAP. What will replace it? If you look at the three adjoining shops – a Carroll’s, an Abrakebabra and a sex shop – the signs are not good. Maybe Spar would consider taking over the lease (shriek!)

      I bought a suit there in Novermber, during their closing down sale… if they’re closing down then they are doing it slllooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwllly

      @Devin wrote:

      Still in the O’Connell ACA, a double-front poundshop recently opened on Abbey Street Lr. Are we winning or losing?

      That’s where the very dinky and grandmothery china showrooms used to be 🙁 Veritas watch out… you might be next.

    • #776056
      Devin
      Participant

      Ahaaa … I’d forgotten what was there. You would think somebody was deliberately trying to downgrade shop uses in the O’Connell Street area shop by shop.

    • #776057
      fergalr
      Participant

      There’s a threeway battle between Centra, Spar and Londis for the soul of the city. I for one just don’t believe that we’re in need of quite this many newsagents. Abbey St is a bit of a breath of fresh air in terms if individual shops. Franchise creep isn’t to be welcomed. We’ve now got a Spar opposite an O’Briens and a Eurosaver. I bet this street will be the location for the first northside Starbucks.

    • #776058
      alonso
      Participant

      well boys and girls it’s with great sadness that I witnessed one of THE most horrific case of franchise creep in suburban Dublin yesterday. As I sat gawking about from the top of the 45 bus in Blackrock I saw that the old Post Office, which closed a while back, is now home to a Starbucks. Now I must admit that it’s not exactly screaming “corporate takeover” from the rooftops as it’s fairly ok compared to the trash DCC have sponsored in their area, and the old “Post Office” lettering and insignia remains as far as I can recall. But jaysus did it have to be fcking Starbucks!!!

      Here it is in it’s former state for ye who see the canals as a wall past which one must not venture 😉

    • #776059
      hutton
      Participant

      @alonso wrote:

      Here it is in it’s former state for ye who see the canals as a wall past which one must not venture 😉

      Ah Alonso its not the canals – its south of the Dodder where Bandit Country begins :p

    • #776060
      Landarch
      Participant

      Alonso. Even though it is a Starbucks I think it was a very sensitive, restrained conversion. As you said it is quite subtle from the outside. Inside, is tastefully done with plenty of original features preserved. I also like that they have made a strong effort to open the rear of the buliding up to the sea. There is a plenty of glass and a large outdoor terrace/balcony with tables and chairs.
      I think it is disappointing that this terrace of buildings doesn’t make any reference to the coastline and the views. It’s a very bleak imposing bulk of services and concrete when viewed from the DORT station.

    • #776061
      Andrew Duffy
      Participant

      While I hate both of them as companies and hate their products, Starbucks and McDonalds seem to be the corporations most sensitive to protected structures with their signage. I’d rather that a commercial building retains a commercial use rather than be demolished and a concrete apartment building built behind its facade.

    • #776062
      Rory W
      Participant

      As someone whio works out here in bandit country, most people around weren’t aware that Starbucks had opened in the old PO such is the sensitivity of the transformation. Think they did a good job on it so credit where it’s due.

      And if not Starbucks then who?

    • #776063
      Anonymous
      Participant

      I agree that they are in architectural terms a good occupier; Starbucks have more than 600 stores in Central London and their brand recognition really does enable them to do uber-sensitive signage on old banks and the like in a way that no other occupier can do.

      With the Spar/Centra/Londis domination of the market one wonders why they don’t have the nuts to rely on their obviously equal brand recognition as well when it comes to signage in sensitive locations. As starbucks have proven in London occupiers wil obey the rule of planners; as they often acquire their tenancies through leasehold interest purchase so therefore they are sitting on a depreciating asset day 1 and do not wish to delay store opening by being silly.

      (In case anyone thinks this is an ad for Starbucks I believe that Cafe Nero do better coffee!)

    • #776064
      CTR
      Participant

      @archipimp wrote:

      well eurocycles is still there ruining a whole street… and i get a feeling they keep replacing it with a slightly bigger version every week or so just to keep the shock value(as if it needed help to do that)!

      It’s STILL there… I’m kinda used to it at this stage, but it goes to show that DCC aren’t too bothered about enforcement imho.

    • #776065
      Anonymous
      Participant

      I guess that in this age of plastic the shopfront has replaced the till for the greasy hand!

      DCC you should be ashamed of yourself for letting a single lessee get away with this; public sector pay freeze!

    • #776066
      Devin
      Participant

      @CTR wrote:

      @archipimp wrote:

      well eurocycles is still there ruining a whole street… and i get a feeling they keep replacing it with a slightly bigger version every week or so just to keep the shock value(as if it needed help to do that)!

      It’s STILL there… I’m kinda used to it at this stage, but it goes to show that DCC aren’t too bothered about enforcement imho.

      They ‘went legit’ in October by lodging a planning application for appropriate signage, which was granted permission in March – <a href="http://195.218.114.214/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=5562/07&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%20Ref. 5562/07

    • #776067
      CTR
      Participant

      @Devin wrote:

      They ‘went legit’ in October by lodging a planning application for appropriate signage, which was granted permission in March – <a href="http://195.218.114.214/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=5562/07&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%20Ref. 5562/07

      I got a surprise while wandering up William St on my way home this evening 🙂

      Took well over two years and there’s a bit of painting to do yet, but at least there’s finally a resolution to this long running eyesore.

    • #776068
      hutton
      Participant

      I want a “eurocycle”… Or do I want a “eurobaby”? :confused:

      Yep, that’ll be two eurocycles and a eurobaby for the chisler…

    • #776069
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I want a recycled baby for a euro.

    • #776070
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      Still pretty crude.

    • #776071
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      @Paul Clerkin wrote:

      Still pretty crude.

      All it needs now is a shopfront. :rolleyes:

    • #776072
      gunter
      Participant

      Bike shops have form in the signage department.

      This is the old Paddy Whelan Cycles shop at 119 – 120 Cork Street. It’s been closed for some time, but the signage endures. No. 120 is a probable former twin gabled, three storey, ‘Dutch Billy’, with a pair of very deep perpendicular roof volumes subsequently lowered and hipped behind a flat parapet.

    • #776073
      DOC
      Participant

      Pram Boutique – nice! 😉

    • #776074
      hutton
      Participant

      Do I want a safari in Kent or a bicycle? Im very confused by some of the shops on this thread :confused:

      Maybe I’ll just stick to a pram for Lunasas recycled baby 😀

    • #776075
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      What’s the connection between prams and bikes? My grandfather used to have a bike and pram shop in Donnybrook in the 1940s-1950s, and the combination struck me as odd, but Eurobabycycles and Mr Whelan would suggest that it was a fairly common occurrence. (Oddly, two of the 4 sons of that grandfather went into the electrics game- again, like Paddy Whelan.)

      Is it that they both require similar types of maintenance?

      Great photo by the way, gunter.

    • #776076
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @ctesiphon wrote:

      What’s the connection between prams and bikes? ……..
      Is it that they both require similar types of maintenance?

      Yes, the connection is mechanical and more. The springs used to reduce vibration on bikes carried over to pram design. Prams had wheel-bearings, spoked wheels, and like those on bikes, the spokes required regular tensioning. Main brands were Silver Cross, Walker and Pedigree. From memory Kilroys in Dublin were the main pram distributors, and also distributed bicycles. (I think they were an early acquisition by Smurfit? ) Choice of “working class” locations for combined bike / pram shops also is linked to finance – a shilling a week on the drip for the bike and the same for the chisler’s pram. In the ’60s there was a great bike shop in Dalkey – Mr. Coombs, stacked to the roof with scrap bikes, he would not deign to sell a pram; and another in Dun Laoghaire, Leiths, that sold bikes & prams.
      K. ( A fan of the Sturmey Archer, and the Brother)

    • #776077
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      Cheers, KB. Silver Cross I had heard of (when I saw your post last night I had to resist the temptation to post a photo of ctesiphon aged 1 asleep in a Silver Cross, all the more tempting given the presence of The Brother in the same photo! :)), but not the others. My grandfather’s shop (none of the names you mentioned, btw!) probably served a similar function, as it dated from a time when Donnybrook was far more socially diverse than today (Sean Dunne, take note- it’s only two generations since Dublin 4 had an established working class population).

      Prams today would probably have more in common with SUVs than bikes, alas: ATPs. 😉

      c. (Currently enjoying a Shimano Nexus hub gear, and coveting a Rohloff speedhub.)

    • #776078
      ctesiphon
      Participant

      Spotted on a recent trip to Copenhagen:

      Bikes to the right, prams to the left. 🙂

    • #776079
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      what’s with the bike shops and archiseek? my grandfather and dad ran a bike shop for many many years in Monaghan

    • #776080
      Devin
      Participant

      Those connoisseurs of discreet, understated signage, Spar, opened a new shop on Smithfield about a year ago with all their usual restraint and good taste. But it since went on fire and will not now be reopening. Poetic justice?

    • #776081
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @Devin wrote:

      ………..But it since went on fire and will not now be reopening. Poetic justice?

      Possibly, but it’s due to the death of Breakfst Roll Man. Sales at Deli counters have plummeted. Sales of so-called “convenience” grocery shopping have also gone down the toilet. More will fold in high rent areas, many more will not go ahead due to lack of funding.
      K.

    • #776082
      Devin
      Participant

      … as Ireland goes back to local shops operating on small margins.

      But since this is a shopfronts thread:

      A protected structure on Capel Street in early ’08.

      And in early ’09.

    • #776083
      tommyt
      Participant

      to be fair devin there’s not a whole lot fundamentally wrong with that imo-nothing irreversible or irritatingly chain branding about it-if you saw it in Amsterdam or Copenhagen people on here would be romancing about how it added to the gritty urban patina of an ever transforming neighbourhood etc…
      Johnny Eagle’s tattoo parlour was/has been up there like Custer’ s last stand on that block for decades and whatever lease or ownership he held there possibly kept that terrace from the bulldozers that obliterated that whole city block- I’d allocate honorary urban design tastelessnes squatter’s rights to the terrace on this one 😉

    • #776084
      gunter
      Participant

      Whatever about the signage, whoever did the restoration of that building (two – three years ago) deserved a medal, imo. This is a Wide Streets Commissioners terrace I presume?

      With subtle pointing and a deliberate effort to go back to the original detailing (knocking of plaster window reveals etc.) they somehow managed to turn a grotty yellow brick building into a classy brown/red brick building.

      I better come clean on this, a yellow brick is just a failed red brick, in my book.

      Graham will probably have something to say (probably did have something to say) about the window panes, but imagine if the whole terrace was restored to this standard, shopfronts and all, including the two houses that have lost their Wyatt windows, what a head turner that would be!

    • #776085
      Devin
      Participant

      Tommyt, I know what you mean. It’s sort of agreeably tacky. On the quaint side of tacky perhaps … And as you say perfectly reversible. Problem is the knock-on effect – somebody else then does something worse: A few doors up in the same terrace, a guy has just refurbished the shop unit (on the left in the pic below). And, to keep up with the Salon Urody people and create more space for the signage of future tenants, he has enlarged the shopfront fascia over the column capitals, so that the effect of the arms and hands (columns & capitals) holding up the fascia is lost and the uniformity of the five shopfront buildings is messed up.

      It’s a really unique terrace in the the city and a great survival so it’d be a shame to see it bastardised too much. Gunter I agree – high standard of conservation to that building that you don’t usually get in this part of the city. The tuck pointing is an example of how it should done and the sashes are historically accurate.

    • #776086
      tommyt
      Participant

      I take your point. If you’re familiar with the concept of ‘geurilla gardening’ perhaps an new clandestine amateur urban joinery unit could tackle this faux pas!

    • #776087
      Devin
      Participant

      Some more quirky shops on Capel Street. Lot of Asian shops now.

    • #776088
      urbanisto
      Participant

      And you’re catching some really well done pavement works in the lower right corner as well. Lots of those around the city lately.

    • #776089
      Devin
      Participant


      Late ’90s pic.


      Today

      I think this terrace is worth a few more words … nowhere else to talk about them really. All protected structures. Built 1820s.

      They’re looking a lot better now than they used to. As can be seen in the late ’90s pic, they were fairly rough. Seemed touch and go whether they’d be kept. Another similar terrace on Winetavern Street beside Christchurch was demolished in the ’60s, so I think it was good that these were kept.

      The three on the left, Nos. 82, 83 & 84, were restored circa 2000. The timber Doric shopfronts and Wyatt sash windows had been either inappropriately replaced, altered or were in poor condition, so all were remade (some small elements of original shopfront fabric may remain). Arguably more surviving original joinery fabric could have been retained.

      The facades got a type of flush pointing in lime mortar, which was the DCC Conservation Office-approved pointing at the time. That might seem a bit crude to us now with all this fine tuck pointing going on to period buildings around the city, but it was a big step forward to get people to stop cement pointing.

      This was the early days of the P&D Act 2000 so it was a major achievement to get buildings like these in a more marginal area restored to a decent standard. As far as I know the DCC Conservation Officer at the time, Nicci Mathews, did a lot of work on this and helped owners receive available PS grants for the work.

      If you read the planning permission conditions for Nos. 83 & 84 (Ref. 2039/00), there’s a sense of being dragged kicking and screaming into the age of the new conservation legislation. Eg. Condition 4:

      (I) Refurbishment works to the roof shall allow for the retention of the profile of the original roof. Replacement slates shall be of natural slate to match the existing. (ii)The existing facades and rear walls of the building shall be retained and restored and shall allow for the rebedding of the original parapet level and the reinstatement of the third floor window opes and arches. The method and materials for the cleaning, re- pointing or replacement of brickwork /masonry shall be the subject of written agreement with the Planning Authority following the submission of details. (iii) A detailed statement of the method for the retention, repair and where appropriate replacement of the windows in both buildings shall be submitted for written agreement prior to incorporation into the proposed development. (iv) All existing internal architectural features of note including the architraves, skirting, picture rails etc. shall be retained, protected and made good. Reason: To ensure the protection of the architectural character of these Protected Structures

      An applicant today would have to submit a detailed schedule for all of that repair work to a PS themselves before an application would even be validated.

      So the restoration of this building in the terrace a year or two ago maybe gives a better idea of de present state of knowledge in conservation.

      As gunter said, it would probably be nice someday to restore the two at the end, Nos. 78 & 79, whose window opes were changed, to the original Wyatt window and Doric shopfront design, and also infill the gaps to each side of the terrace thanks to DIT Bolton Street’s car park. As seen in this drawing from Shaw’s Directory of 1850, the shopfronts of the two at the end had already been knocked into one by 1850, but the Wyatt sashes were still in situ upstairs.

      The plans of the building at each extremity of the terrace taper away to nothing at the back, which I suppose tells you that the terrace itself was an infill, & was dictated existing buildings. Adds to their peculiarity.

      Seen better on Live Maps actually: Capel St.

    • #776090
      hutton
      Participant

      @Devin wrote:

      And in early ’09.

      I see that somebody’s seen the light, or sign as it were – and signs on, the neon sign of “Salon Urody Solarium” and illuminated plastic box have gone.

      Devin must be a happy bunny 😀

    • #776091
      Devin
      Participant

      Yeah somebody must have complained.

      But if you read back, hutton, the consensus was that it had its charms.

    • #776092
      jimg
      Participant

      Nice to see them restored. It reminds me of calling the fire brigade to report that one of them had caught fire late at night about 10 years ago. From the “late 90s” photos, it looks like it must have been number 84. It was a dramatic situation; the upstairs was rented out as a flat or flats and a woman was screaming on the street that some-one called Jimmy – presumably her son or boyfriend – was still in it. As it turns out, the building was empty. The drama was heightened by the fact that it seemed there was a store of fireworks in the burning flat.

    • #776093
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Ah Capel Street eh?!

      I must admit I find this (otherwise charming) terrace a complete mess. The brickwork’s all over the place, the windows for the most part a disaster, and most properties exhibit a lack of basic maintenance. Even with the most recent, and by all accounts most accomplished, restoration, a red mortar and colourwash was used on what is yellow stock brick in a yellow stock brick terrace! I mean, is it just me?

      This isn’t purist diatribe, this is basic stuff. We live in a city where the fundamental building blocks are Georgian brick barns. If we cannot even tackle the most basic of issues affecting these, then what hope can we hold for the wider city? Botched detailing on these simple buildings is always so painfully evident.

      Otherwise, a charmer of a terrace with some admirable efforts interspersed along its length.

      @gunter wrote:

      a yellow brick is just a failed red brick, in my book.

      Okay, so a debate for another day, but there’s no way that remark is being allowed slip through the net!

    • #776094
      gunter
      Participant

      @GrahamH wrote:

      Even with the most recent, and by all accounts most accomplished, restoration, a red mortar and colourwash was used on what is yellow stock brick in a yellow stock brick terrace! I mean, is it just me?

      I have a feeling that, in many cases, red mortar was use in the original pointing with the lime putty tuck detail, is this not true? Presumably it was used to remove the shame of the yellow stock brick!

      I think it works superbly.

      . . . yellow brick; . . . two words; . . . . half-baked 🙂

    • #776095
      GrahamH
      Participant

      :rolleyes: 🙂

      A traditional technique it may be, but going by Devin’s 1990s photograph, that building had never been colourwashed! Even if it had, logic would dictate the simple removal of whatever fragments remained rather than compromising the wider terrace. As far as I’m concerned, such practices are akin to the hideous Victorian obsession with smearing render over facades as a quick fix solution to fleeting whims of fashion.

      Further observations on the merits or otherwise of brick colouring would perhaps be better left to a brick thread (oh the prospect), but I shall leave you in the capable hands of architect, Isaac Ware, quoted in the Department of Environment’s Guide to the Repair of Historic Brickwork, launched only last night in the Custom House.

      In his Complete Body of Architecture from 1756, Ware ‘describes the mid-century change in taste in England from ‘hot’ to ‘cool’ colours, red bring considered ‘too fiery and disagreeable to the eye’.

      Someone get this man a brandy!

    • #776096
      Devin
      Participant

      You definitely do see examples around town of very old stained red facades which are are now worn and revealing a different original brick colour.

      The job on the Capel Street building is very much in the ‘faded Dublin redbrick’ tradition. Ok perhaps there is an argument that he/she who did it was maverick and should have kept the yellow brick of the others. But I don’t think it has compromised the terrace. It more highlights that the other brick facades need some tlc. In regard to the 3 mentioned earlier which were restored in 2000, it would probably best to repoint them along the lines of the tuck-pointed one (whatever about staining). That flush pointing they received is more suitable for back elevations; not really presentabe for a front elev.

      Job just done on North Great George’s Street, below, in a deeper Georgian red (possibly by the same firm who did the Capel facade, as pointing & lack of plaster in reveals as seen in Malton prints etc. is same).

      Btw Graham, what do you mean by the windows of the Capel Street terrace “are for the most part a disaster”? Four out of the five Wyatt buildings have accurate replica sashes, which is pretty good for a group of buildings in Dublin.

    • #776097
      Morlan
      Participant

      @Devin wrote:

      I think this terrace is worth a few more words …

      Fantastic comparison with the pics Devin. Very interesting.

    • #776098
      johnglas
      Participant

      Oh, for the simple cool plainness of yellow, mellow brick as a relief from all that fiery red – I feel atouch of the vapours!
      Here, brick was not used at all as a building material until well into the 19thC and the coming of cheap imports from England by rail. Traditionally harled rubble would have been used until the more widespread use of sandstone ashlar in the great tenement building booms in the mid 19thC; as it happens, red sandstone is always considered superior to ‘blond’ (yellow), which was the first to be used widely in the city. I don’t agree, but red did keep its colour better through soot (until the great – and sometimes disastrous – stone-cleaning binge of the 1980s) and was associated with more up-market areas.
      I’ve always liked London stock brick and it’s worthwhile remarking that old red brick in, say, Amsterdam is often painted over in very dark colours. On the other hand, red brick in all the countries around the Baltic has a charm that it’s hard to beat.

    • #776099
      jdivision
      Participant

      GrahamH/Devin, have you seen the remodelled EBS branch on Baggot Street, opposite Toner’s. Some of what’s exposed is worthwhile but I think some of the touches are ill advised, particular the signage (if that’s the permanent choice, it was put up after the pic was taken). All said, it’s a hell of a lot better than the red and white tack that was there before

    • #776100
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      That’s the original (sic.) front of what used to be a pork butcher’s next door to what was a branch of The Monument Creamery. All those Baggot Street memories. We walked from Upper Mount Street to The Green most afternoons to fish for pinkeens (but we also got money for the jam jars from the ragman in Herbert Lane to buy sweets in Moyter’s so they weren’t all used for the little fishies). Tesco (let me puke) is where H. William’s was, the first ‘supermarket’ in Dublin, and further up in Merrion Row was The Venetian Café. That was only very sometimes but the mammy always lifted us up to see through the railings of the Huguenot Cemetery, which she called Limbo, where we were going to go when we died because the neighbour children always taunted us for not being baptised.

    • #776101
      gunter
      Participant

      The poor old Huguenots, I bet they had no idea they were going to end up in Limbo!

      Marcel, sis eez not ev-en

    • #776102
      GrahamH
      Participant

      @Devin wrote:

      Ok perhaps there is an argument that he/she who did it was maverick and should have kept the yellow brick of the others. But I don’t think it has compromised the terrace. It more highlights that the other brick facades need some tlc.

      I could not disagree more! What has happened in respect of the red wash is ridiculous, and typical of the slapdash approach taken to brick conservation in Dublin, where any work is deemed acceptable as long as it is undertaken by a professional using an historic technique. For some reason, the standards we apply to plasterwork, joinery, window repair and ironwork – generally repaired according to textbook models, standards and accepted best practice – is rarely applied to brickwork here. It’s as if the repair and conservation of brickwork is deemed to beyond the expertise of the planner or architect, and is regularly left to the whims – however professional the quality of their work may be – of the bricklayer, to whom is often left to advise on the technique and mortars used, in spite of this being critical to the entire project.

      There is absolutely no way that any building in a perfectly intact uniform terrace should be dyed an alternate colour to that of adjacent buildings. Not only does this impair the appearance of the entire terrace, it also does an injustice to the intelligence of our forebears to suggest they would be so aesthetically and socially stupid to think nobody would notice a narrow sliver of a property in a uniform terrace built of cheap brick being dyed to appear more regular or expensive. With substantial houses on the squares, yes – on a beanpole of a secondary commercial terrace, most certainly not. I appreciate a photograph shall now miraculously appear from nowhere to dispute this, but that would not be typical!

      To apply the above case to elsewhere in the city, we would have smatterings of red-washed houses popping up along the length of Gardiner Street, or half of Heytesbury Street transformed overnight into a tribute to the wine gum. We often give out on this site about modern property owners compromising unified compositions through render application, paint colours and window replacement. This is the conservation version of this, and very simply should not have been permitted by planners. The correct course of action was to execute the same high quality job using a yellow mortar (and arguably wigged).

      Regarding the windows, from what I’ve made out from passing, the various groupings of reproduction sashes differ slightly from each other, some quite drastically. Coupled with the mismatched brickwork, there’s a lot of clutter up there.

      Just for the record, I think the red-washed building is an outstanding job, including the pointing, with the best choice of colour and standard of application I have yet encountered in Dublin. Likewise about the windows. Just a shame it’s the wrong building. Agreed the North Great George’s Street job is excellent. The plum is fruity but it works. The buff tuck is beautiful.

    • #776103
      Devin
      Participant

      Arrgh there really is another thread in this! I would barely consider the Capel Street building to be “redbrick” (now) – that’s why I gave the George’s St. example. The Capel St. one is not strong enough to contrast adversely with the others IMO. And yes you defo do see different colour brick facades in important streetscapes around the city. The north side of Merrion Square is a right mish mash.

    • #776104
      Anonymous
      Participant

      @gunter wrote:

      whoever did the restoration of that building (two – three years ago) deserved a medal, imo.

      restoration gunter? surely a word that does not apply in this instance, a simple dislike of yellow brick cannot justify such a significant alteration, particularly in the context of a reasonably coherent terrace 😮

      @GrahamH wrote:

      There is absolutely no way that any building in a perfectly intact uniform terrace should be dyed an alternate colour to that of adjacent buildings. Not only does this impair the appearance of the entire terrace, it also does an injustice to the intelligence of our forebears to suggest they would be so aesthetically and socially stupid to think nobody would notice a narrow sliver of a property in a uniform terrace built of cheap brick being dyed to appear more regular or expensive. With substantial houses on the squares, yes – on a beanpole of a secondary commercial terrace, most certainly not. I appreciate a photograph shall now miraculously appear from nowhere to dispute this, but that would not be typical!

      To apply the above case to elsewhere in the city, we would have smatterings of red-washed houses popping up along the length of Gardiner Street, or half of Heytesbury Street transformed overnight into a tribute to the wine gum. We often give out on this site about modern property owners compromising unified compositions through render application, paint colours and window replacement. This is the conservation version of this, and very simply should not have been permitted by planners. The correct course of action was to execute the same high quality job using a yellow mortar (and arguably wigged).

      +1 !!!

    • #776105
      gunter
      Participant

      @Peter Fitz wrote:

      restoration gunter? surely a word that does not apply in this instance, a simple dislike of yellow brick cannot justify such a significant alteration, particularly in the context of a reasonably coherent terrace 😮

      Restoration: ”Representation of original form, or appearance”

      Peter, I think this term is perfectly applicable in this case. As far as I know, it was standard practice in the 19th century for facades constructed in yellow stock brick to be pointed up in red dyed mortar, presumably in a very reasonable attempt to match the appearance of the predominant brick finish in the adjoining streetscape.

      Without having examined the Capel Street building in detail, and leaving aside my own entirely justified dislike of inferior, second rate, buff coloured brickwork, I took it that the architect in this instance had done his research, found that this was indeed the case, and courageously specified and oversaw a magnificent piece of conservation/restoration.

      I know this sounds a bit like ‘everyone’s out of step but my Johnny’, but I thinks that this is actually the case here. To properly restore the unity of the terrace, it’s the other buildings that need to get their act together, this guy has shown the way.

      This is the only example of original red mortar in use on yellow stock brick that I have to hand, and it comes from a bit later in the 19th century, but I’ll keep an eye open for better examples if we’re heading into a full blown disagreement on this.

    • #776106
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @gunter wrote:

      The poor old Huguenots, I bet they had no idea they were going to end up in Limbo!

      Marcel, sis eez not ev-en

      Alas, poor old Limbo! Either it never existed, or is empty, but certainly is no more. Pulled down by the last Pope; probably not compliant with the original PP.
      K.

    • #776107
      Devin
      Participant

      Ok before we start going on expeditions for photos in support of points, this thread needs to stay OT.

      [align=center:27g5t3r6]-o-o-[/align:27g5t3r6]

      In 2006, Gorta put up what can only be described as an obnoxious shop fascia on their Capel Street building.

      It forms the south piece of a rather sophisticated group of unified buildings at Nos. 133-137, all protected structures.

      A complaint was duly lodged (yeah yeah, death to the poor). Incredibly, the reply from DCC Planning Enforcement was that “no enforcement action is warranted in relation to this sign as it is similar to others on this street”. I would love to scan and put the reply letter up here to illustrate it in black & white, but planning enforcement documentation is not public unlike planning apps.

      And now, in their report to accompany the recent ACA proposal for the street, DCC cite Gorta as a bad example of a Capel Street shopfront! See thumbnail.

    • #776108
      publicrealm
      Participant
      Devin wrote:
      Ok before we start going on expeditions for photos in support of points, this thread needs to stay OT.

      [The Thread Ariadne, the Thread!

    • #776109
      Anonymous
      Participant

      @gunter wrote:

      Restoration: ”Representation of original form, or appearance”

      Peter, I think this term is perfectly applicable in this case. As far as I know, it was standard practice in the 19th century for facades constructed in yellow stock brick to be pointed up in red dyed mortar, presumably in a very reasonable attempt to match the appearance of the predominant brick finish in the adjoining streetscape.

      If that could be verified in this particular case, well fair enough – it’s not at all clear however & whether or not the use of red-dyed mortar on yellow stock facades throughout the city could be described as ‘standard practice’ is also a little dubious.

      Either way I would have preferred a more pragmatic approach, had no. 80 been first up for restoration & presuming red-dyed mortar was in fact originally used, by all means use the opportunity to set the tone for the terrace as a whole. However, given the previous restoration of no’s 82 – 84, almost half the terrace, to the original yellow stock brick, the approach taken at no. 80 is a little pedantic and compromises the coherence of the terrace as a whole*.

      *not to say that no. 80 is anything other than a fine job, I wouldn’t be bothered arguing the point if it was a stand alone 😉

    • #776110
      KeepAnEyeOnBob
      Participant

      Well, from the layman’s perspective, I would say no. 80 “looks” best (if you look at each section individually), but it also of course disrupts the block and looks out of place when you look at the whole row. It all looks superb compared to the late 90s photo, all the bigger difference with the changed streetscape and cleaned up building opposite (albeit with horrible new signage).

    • #776111
      Devin
      Participant

      Everybody can see that Westmoreland Street is deteriorating out of control. Things that had been ok have to deteriorate just to keep up:

      Coleman’s newsagent had been maintaining a respectable Victorian-style frontage ……….. until recently.

      The previous signage to the Thai restaurant at the corner with Fleet Street had been working with the historic building.

      The new signage is working against it.

      One of the last inoffensive uses on the street, a chemist, recently shut up.

      And of course thee worst shopfront in Dublin is on Westmoreland Street.

    • #776112
      alonso
      Participant

      cool. A subway on westmoreland street!

      Finally some good news on archiseek.

      anyway their posters are way over the top but to be honest I don’t think Thai Orchid were doing the street any favoiurs originally, as you implied. maybe it’s best to just abandon this street for the next decade while Metro North and maybe BX are under construction and we can return to it after. You could always “encourage” a few RPA contractors to “look after” any offensive signage with their JCBs…

    • #776113
      gunter
      Participant

      @Devin wrote:

      . . . . and of course thee worst shopfront in Dublin is on Westmoreland Street.

      I don’t know about ‘the worst shopfront in Dublin’, look at what they did around the corner in College Green:

      It looks like Daly’s Club House have sub-let part of their ground floor to an Indian take-away and they’ve plastered signage all over the stonework of the classical facade!

      Where are the Wide Streets Commissioners?

      I’m tempted to write a stiffly worded letter to Faulkner’s Gazette 🙂

    • #776114
      hutton
      Participant

      @Devin wrote:

      Everybody can see that Westmoreland Street is deteriorating out of control. Things that had been ok have to deteriorate just to keep up.

      Ah but did you not know that Gormley’s Bus Gate is going to fix all that, just as in Marlborough Street and Parnell Square West… Because Gormley/ DoE and DCC have really made a priority of completing the O’C St IAP, clearing up the clutter that blights College Green and Westmorland Street, and enforcing proper planning… Except they have like shite and have no such commitments in their Bus Gate plan, which imo threatens to further damage WM St by turning it into a Bus Gutter…

      @gunter wrote:

      I don’t know about ‘the worst shopfront in Dublin’, look at what they did around the corner in College Green:
      It looks like Daly’s Club House have sub-let part of their ground floor to an Indian take-away and they’ve plastered signage all over the stonework of the classical facade!

      Where are the Wide Streets Commissioners?

      I’m tempted to write a stiffly worded letter to Faulkner’s Gazette 🙂

      Gunter – Luke Gardiner is watching you :p

    • #776115
      alonso
      Participant

      why in the name of jaysus would a bus gate plan, which is not much more than a collection of A0 drawings of a few junctions, contain any of that stuff? That’s what Development plans are for, and enforcement and local democracy and y’know all those fluffy nebulous things that we don’t have.

      To be fair though, the Bus Gate issue is a seperate one and one i support. I have no idea how removing the cars would make it worse? Less vehicles = more room surely? Can you elaborate (possibly on the Westmoreland st thread) as I’m interested as to how removing cars can make it worse. cool

    • #776116
      Devin
      Participant

      Yeah hutton, that just sounds like aimless mouthing off on the internet. What does John Gormley have to do with planning controls for Westmoreland Street? Nothing. Anyway you probably read that these controls controlling shop uses & design for the O’C Street area are to be reviewed because of the persistent problems.

      http://www.tribune.ie/property/article/2009/feb/08/oconnell-street-planning-controls-face-review/

    • #776117
      johnglas
      Participant

      That Spar is shocking, but I’m intrigued by the Lion Rampant above and the cluster of thistles surrounding it. Any knowledge of the Scottish connection?

    • #776118
      Devin
      Participant

      Quite possible in this area. You’d have to go back through the Shaw’s Directories.

      @gunter wrote:

      It looks like Daly’s Club House have sub-let part of their ground floor to an Indian take-away and they’ve plastered signage all over the stonework of the classical facade!

      Where are the Wide Streets Commissioners?

      I’m tempted to write a stiffly worded letter to Faulkner’s Gazette 🙂

      Extraordinary! If only Linda Cheung had been able to cite this precedent, she might have got permission last year for a Chinese restaurant a few doors away No. 9 College Green – <a href="http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=3152/08&theTabNo=1&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%203152/08 🙂

    • #776119
      Morlan
      Participant

      @Devin wrote:

      And of course thee worst shopfront in Dublin is on Westmoreland Street.

      I know I shouldn’t be surprised but.. holy fucking shit 😮

    • #776120
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @johnglas wrote:

      That Spar is shocking, but I’m intrigued by the Lion Rampant above and the cluster of thistles surrounding it. Any knowledge of the Scottish connection?

      It is similar to the royal arms of Scotland – “Or, a lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure” The thistles relate to the Order of the Thistle.
      They relate to a previous occupant, a Scottish insurance company; an old street directory should confirm this. It would be interesting to know if the insurer had its own grant of arms or if the painters got the present colours incorrect.
      Rs
      K.

    • #776121
      GrahamH
      Participant

      More dodgy dealings over on Dawson Street. While Dubliners are welcoming with open arms yet another British multiple on the streets of the capital (though at least they produce decent coffee), the mega chain sees fit to flout planning regulations and essentially give the two fingers to the most prestigious network of streets in the city with this tawdry ensemble.

      Appalling signage in the windows and an outrageously scaled sign on the wall, which should not be permitted on any level.

      A dash of suburban decking and cluttering advertising banners. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

      What the heck?!

      A host of apparently unauthorised seating on Molesworth Street, the orderly appearance and maintenance of which is entirely at the discretion of staff.

      Aside from the conversion to restaurant use, none of this development has planning permission. Indeed the application for change of use was even conditional on:

      3. Notwithstanding the provisions of the Planning & Development Regulations 2001, no advertisement signs (including any signs installed to be visible through the windows); advertisement structures, banners, canopies, flags, or other projecting element shall be displayed or erected on the building or within the curtilage, or attached to the glazing without the prior grant of planning permission. Reason: In the interests of visual amenity.

      Yah…

      An application was lodged barely a week ago for some of these and other works. Given Starbucks were handed everything on a plate across the road, goodness only knows what will be permitted here.

      As any planner should know, the majority of international retailers have a ‘standard’ model for shop branding and a ‘conservation’ model which they keep quiet on unless forced to employ it. If any planning authority was hardline enough to enforce this across the board, retailers wouldn’t even bother trying for anything else.

      How about DCC starts saving the city from mediocre retail design?

    • #776122
      missarchi
      Participant

      the green dragon what on earth is the story with that? 😀
      mirror mirror on the wall…

    • #776123
      rumpelstiltskin
      Participant

      Being perfectly honest here, that Costa signage actually improves the building. And Costa coffee is revolting.

    • #776124
      igy
      Participant

      Lose the giant badge, and I don’t think it’s too bad. The ‘Costa’ Sign over the front door is far more muted than it otherwise could have been.

    • #776125
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Whats the name of the shop? I cant quite make it out…

    • #776126
      Devin
      Participant

      Nice to see a new cafe opeming. H eck it’s nice to see a new anything opening at the moment.

    • #776127
      -Donnacha-
      Participant

      In my opinion, I’d prefer this Costa place opens in that unit than the inevitable discount store / pound shop type of places that are starting to appear in some newly vacant retail units during this property crash. And I do agree with a previous poster that this particular example actually improves the building.

    • #776128
      GrahamH
      Participant

      But of course it does1 A vacant unit versus a teaming coffee shop offers little in the way of dispute as to which is better. A discount shop also would not be allowed open on Dawson Street (one hopes). This matter simply relates to signage et al. Of course the lettering above the entrance is fine – that is all there should be. All the other tack, including the cheapo fascia inserts in the windows, the circular sign, and the rubbish around the entrance require removal.

      Naturally it is good to see new life on the street in these times, but certainly not at the expense of good design or good planning standards.

      @rumpelstiltskin wrote:

      And Costa coffee is revolting.

      Meh, mild and anodyne yes, but hardly revolting.

      Much more encouraging is The Trinity Barber’s recent makeover over on Trinity Street. An excellent exercise in polished restraint, the works involved the replacement of an expansive facia and an all-singing coat of canary yellow paint on their Art Nouveau shopfront with an altogether more stylish affair.

      The diminutive smart steel lettering without any form of lighting paraphernalia is effortlessly cool.

      I’m not entirely sure what’s going on there between the fascia and the cornice – a former alteration of some kind.

      Beautiful job.

      The Trinity Barber is one of three unified shopfronts on a late 19th century building which could benefit from similar treatment.

      (incidentally, the barber upstairs has stunning views down St. Andrew Street and South William Street towards Powerscourt Townhouse).

      More of this please.

      (if anyone’s in there soon, tell them to take the plastic wrapping off the new light shades!)

    • #776129
      Devin
      Participant

      @GrahamH wrote:

      Just on the the Dawson Street Starbucks building, there was a recent planning application to replace the upper facade with a bowed glazed facade by Frank Crowley architects. That would be a pity. It’s a decent ’60s type mullion facade and & good piece of streetscape. DCC refused it for breaching the established building line of the upper floors – <a href="http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=2508/08&theTabNo=2&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%202508/08 (some images of the proposal in ‘View Documents’) But they haven’t dissaproved the idea of replacing the mullion facade, which is unfortunate.

    • #776130
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Absolutely. I’ve always liked this building – streamlined and elegant (apron panels aside).

      Which is why it’s disappointing to say, having passed yesterday, all of the polished cladding has already been ripped off. The above is the last ever photograph taken of that design 🙁

    • #776131
      reddy
      Participant

      @GrahamH wrote:

      Absolutely. I’ve always liked this building – streamlined and elegant (apron panels aside).

      Which is why it’s disappointing to say, having passed yesterday, all of the polished cladding has already been ripped off. The above is the last ever photograph taken of that design 🙁

      Was there a fire in this building last Tuesday? I was walking down Nassau St and saw the street blocked off with two engines and a ladder extended to this building or its neighbour. Maybe that damaged it?

    • #776132
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Curious that the application for this only went in on March 16th with a decision still pending …

      Last date for observations April 20th.

      2553/09

    • #776133
      Smithfield Resi
      Participant

      Invalidates the application I would have thought. Bit of a dumb move, as the planner will see the unauthorised work on the site visit.

    • #776134
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Fitzpatricks on Grafton Street is an example of a beautifully designed shopfront. International chic it may be, and with a soulless personality to boot, but it nonetheless oozes quality and sophistication. The sharp glazing and high contrast shop displays look particularly outstanding in the evening.

      Essentially it is a postmodern surround refined to more contemporary tastes. The pilasters are a tad stunted atop those tall plinths, but generally the composition and detailing are spot on.

      Exquiste crisp black lettering. This only recently replaced almost brand new steel lettering, presumably as it stands out more.

      (now that I think of it, it was probably just painted!)

      Alas, as is typical with glossy developments in Ireland of the boom era, it’s all skirt and no knickers. Nasty PVC abounds on the upper storeys.

      Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

      Indeed both premises are almost entirely fitted out with the same muck. These all went in just as the ACA was adopted about 18 months-two years ago. Nothing has happened.

      We’re great at the aul vista closures in Dublin :rolleyes:. No commitment to quality.

    • #776135
      Devin
      Participant

      [align=center:304131xm]Narrow pavements [/align:304131xm]

      Not a bad group of buildings here on Dame Street at the junction of George’s Street. You don’t notice them much cos you’re usually concentrating on not getting skulled by a bus if you step off the narrow pavements.

      [align=center:304131xm]Improvements[/align:304131xm]

      Strange but true: some shopfront improvements are planned here. The Centra is being enlarged into the building next door. The planners usually discourage knocking buildings into each other like this cos you lose the fine grain of the street, but it’s being allowed in this case cos it’s being done minimally and because of the design improvements to the frontage.

      [align=center:304131xm]Sex shop[/align:304131xm]

      The existing shopfront is being given an arcaded treatment, picking up on the upper floors, while the former Condom Power shopfront next door will be largely glazed, so as to be more see-through, giving less protection from the street.

      The applicant claims it will “rid the street frontage of the sex shop and its opaque shuttered window”, with sordid goings on behind, no doubt.

      Planning Ref. is 2339/09

    • #776136
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Yep was reading this a few weeks ago. Good to see DCC requesting additional info on precisely what historic material would be lost when knocking the two units together. A very good conservation report and design proposals by Cathal O’Neill, intending to arcade the interior in a European food hall style if recall (with some degree of embellishment on the part of Centra no doubt).

      Work has already started, with the owner of the properties agreeing to ‘clean up’ the upper elevations. Musgraves have also stated they’d be willing to use this shop as a model as to what can be achieved with convenience stores in terms of design, layout and signage. Their commitment to that ideal five years down the road remains to be proven.

    • #776137
      rumpelstiltskin
      Participant

      What’s interesting is that the Condompower signage is significantly more tasteful than Centra’s.

    • #776138
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Its not really…its a banner.

      I think the proposed changes are well worth doing. The exsiting shopfronts are too heavy and give this section of the street a boarded up appearance. The repair of the facades is also welcome. It would be good to see the units either side being imporved to enhance the overall vista looking down South Great Georges Street.

      One big problem here, as Devin says, is the width of the pavement, particularly given the high footfall at this key junction. Not an awful lot that can be done about it though.

    • #776139
      rumpelstiltskin
      Participant

      @StephenC wrote:

      Its not really…its a banner.

      I think the proposed changes are well worth doing. The exsiting shopfronts are too heavy and give this section of the street a boarded up appearance. The repair of the facades is also welcome. It would be good to see the units either side being imporved to enhance the overall vista looking down South Great Georges Street.

      One big problem here, as Devin says, is the width of the pavement, particularly given the high footfall at this key junction. Not an awful lot that can be done about it though.

      Well they could pedestrianize Dame Street and College Green, and reroute all the traffic down Patrick St. and across the river, but that’s not gonna happen.

    • #776140
      Devin
      Participant

      Looks like we’re entering a new term with the disruptive child of Londis, Lower O’Connell Street. They had the neck to leave this massive “temporary sign” in situ long after the repaving and public realm scheme was complete and the street looking pristine.

      As a resolution, this proposal was granted permission in Sept. ’08 under 3004/08; enlargement into the next door premises and improved, simplified shopfronts. A similar decision to Centra on Dame Street – the planners ensured one half of the frontage was for cafe use only.

      So now we’re up and running with the permitted scheme and straight away there are problems with breaching of approved signage design, additional signage and general garishness.

      Just do the f***ing right thing and your sales will improve and the city will look better !!

    • #776141
      Morlan
      Participant
    • #776142
      Global Citizen
      Participant

      @Morlan wrote:

      http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2055800468

      What a bunch of whinging idiots.

      Well spotted Morlan.
      Some interesting points raised over there, especially in the first 3 pages.

      After that it descends into a bit of a silly Dublin V Cork squabble.

    • #776143
      Devin
      Participant

      This Griffins Londis on Grafton Street must be the most outrageous shopfront in the city at the moment because it’s set amongst the largely minimal and professionally-designed fronts of the ‘higher end’ (or not so higher end) shops of the street but has all the worst and most brash attributes of a convenience store in Dublin: bad colour scheme, illuminated signs in the windows, posters on the glazing, multitude of cluttering projecting signs attached to shopfront, projecting sign above ground floor level, associated fast-food use, over-illumination at night, naff ‘traditional’ design of shopfront (with bad detailing and poor relationship between pilasters and console brackets), disharmony with the historic building above etc. etc.

      It is contrary to probably 20 different objectives of the Architectural Conservation Area and Scheme of Special Planning Control for Grafton Street, and it’s in a very sensitive ‘tone setting’ location at the top of the street as you enter from the south ….. as if Grafton Street isn’t having enough problems trying to maintain what’s left of its upmarket character.

      On online planning search on 49 Grafton Street returns no results, so they are not even pretending to have permission for it.

    • #776144
      jdivision
      Participant

      John Corcoran seemed to be having a direct go at that shop in the weekend, can’t blame him

    • #776145
      hutton
      Participant

      @Devin wrote:

      This Griffins Londis on Grafton Street must be the most outrageous shopfront in the city at the moment because it’s set amongst the largely minimal and professionally-designed fronts of the ‘higher end’ (or not so higher end) shops of the street but has all the worst and most brash attributes of a convenience store in Dublin: bad colour scheme, illuminated signs in the windows, posters on the glazing, multitude of cluttering projecting signs attached to shopfront, projecting sign above ground floor level, associated fast-food use, over-illumination at night, naff ‘traditional’ design of shopfront (with bad detailing and poor relationship between pilasters and console brackets), disharmony with the historic building above etc. etc.

      It is contrary to probably 20 different objectives of the Architectural Conservation Area and Scheme of Special Planning Control for Grafton Street, and it’s in a very sensitive ‘tone setting’ location at the top of the street as you enter from the south ….. as if Grafton Street isn’t having enough problems trying to maintain what’s left of its upmarket character.

      On online planning search on 49 Grafton Street returns no results, so they are not even pretending to have permission for it.

      That is Efffing awful…. Subway seem to have gone on a real aggressive sub standard agenda of signage since entering Dublin market – Ive noticed a rake of UD subway fascias… Are DCC blind, and why do they allow such systematic breaches? 😡

    • #776146
      tommyt
      Participant

      Would be interesting to see what’s in their franchise agreements with operators alright. They probably have a ‘signup now- get a shedload of extra signage free’ deal on the go.

    • #776147
      Devin
      Participant

      Yeah the Subways are becoming a big problem. They are fast food with the associated nasty signage.

      Previously posted, but this one (pic below) opened a year or two ago within Coleman’s newsagent on the back of the toileting of Westmoreland Street ….. in a protected structure within the O’Connell Street ACA.

      The ACA’s Scheme of Special Planning Control states, under ‘(1) Land Use – General Controls on Changes of Use’, that there are ‘no locations in the area of Area of Special Planning Control that are considered suitable for additional fast food outlets’.

      The shopfront the building currently has was installed about 10 years ago under planning application <a href="http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=2375/99&theTabNo=2&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%202375/99. The second of the un-numbered conditions avaliable in that link states:

      ‘… The glazing shall not be used for the purpose of sticking posters advertising material related to the sale of goods in the shop and in this regard all such signage shall be removed … All goods or signs displayed inside the shop shall be kept back at a distance of no less than 300mm from the glazing … Signage shall be restricted to the fascia and shall consist of individually mounted or hand painted lettering and product advertising shall be restricted to an absolute minimum. (e,g, gifts, newsagents).’

      The fifth condition states:

      ‘… no further signs including any signs, neon or otherwise, exhibited as part of a window display affixed to the inside of the glazing, illuminations, advertising structures, banners, canopies, flags, lighting fixtures or other projecting elements shall be erected or fixed to the building without prior grant of planning permission. Reason: to protect the architectural integrity of a Listed building and in the interest of the streetscape in an important Conservation Area.’

      So the Subway doesn’t comply with the provisions of the O’Connell Street ACA or the conditions of the shopfront planning permission. But so what? Westmoreland Street has gone down the toilet …

    • #776148
      alonso
      Participant

      I’m so bloody hungry readin this thread

    • #776149
      gunter
      Participant

      That’s why they do it.

      They know if they can make the sign big enough, alonso will weave through four lane of traffic . . .on his crutches . . . for a crusty foot long with five toppings.

    • #776150
      reddy
      Participant

      Hmmm crusty foot long….

    • #776151
      GrahamH
      Participant

      🙂

      It’s such a shame with that Westmoreland Street premises in particular, as Thomas J. Coleman’s shopfront was one of the most elegant in the city before it was mauled as Devin describes.

      In respect of Griffin’s, I would proffer that their shop on lower Grafton Street opposite the Provost’s House is in fact worse than their upper Grafton Street equivalant. It is beyond outrageous. What other civilised city on the planet allows this sort of muck on their principal ‘exclusive’ thoroughfare, never permitted to form the setting of internationally significant landmark buildings?

      Pretty much everything visible in these shots is illegal.

      Peasant mentality to the core.

      I’ve said it 87,000 times and I’ll say it again: until we get penalty-driven enforcement, based on time-dependant fines for unauthorised development in ACAs and ASPCs, we will get nowhere with tawdry non-compliance such as this. End of. There is no other mechanisim that works.

    • #776152
      GrahamH
      Participant

      1/3/2010

      I see Costa’s new café on the corner of Dawson Street and Molesworth Street has shut down exactly one year since it opened (my, how time flies).


      (March 2009)

      A notice on the door reads the shop is ‘temporarily closed due to relocation’. Given it was an immensely successful operation here, one can only conclude it was the terms of the lease that forced their hand. It was a short term lease that was signed back at the end of 2008, as then reported by The Irish Times.

      Incidentally, their cheeky application for planning permission (note, not retention permission) for all of their external tawdry signage paraphernalia was hearteningly refused by Dublin City Council last year. Not that it made any difference of course. They just held out till they had to up sticks.

      “The cumulative effect of the back-plate, illuminated lettering, canopies, illuminated circular signs, awnings with corporate logo attached, together with a range of other manifestation, including poster display systems, open hours window manifestation and door handles, creates visual clutter in the streetscape and a poor quality image. The proposal would be contrary to The South City Retail Quarter Architectural Conservation Plan and the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

      So where are they off to does anyone know? They’ve literally hired a removal van and taken everything from the counters to the corporate art on the walls. Where are they going to deface next, and will DCC be one step ahead of them this time? Presentation aside, it is a sad loss of a vibrant social amenity in this quarter of the city.

    • #776153
      Global Citizen
      Participant

      Dublin V Barcelona…. Spot the difference.

      None of the on street postcard stands, protruding signage, oversized adverts and overall brashness in the Catalan capital.
      The city that gave the world the word ‘gaudy’.

    • #776154
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Yes but its impossible to find a Western Union, Dublin Bus Ticket Agent or an ATM in Barcelona 🙂

    • #776155
      gunter
      Participant

      . . . and they didn’t push their shutters up fully

    • #776156
      rumpelstiltskin
      Participant

      @Global Citizen wrote:

      Dublin V Barcelona…. Spot the difference.

      None of the on street postcard stands, protruding signage, oversized adverts and overall brashness in the Catalan capital.
      The city that gave the world the word ‘gaudy’.

      Have you been on the Ramblas?

    • #776157
      Global Citizen
      Participant

      @rumpelstiltskin wrote:

      Have you been on the Ramblas?

      Of course, and I agree the place is a mess at street level.
      I usually avoid it when I’m there.
      I’ll never understand why tourists flock to the place.
      Some fine architecture to gaze up at though.
      But keep your hands in your pockets.
      Or some little pup will empty them for you.

    • #776158
      wearnicehats
      Participant

      had you turned round you could have photographed slightly diappointed looking tourists winding their way around junkies to peruse a succession of little kiosks selling anything from live birds to hardcore pornography. dicing with death you can cross the traffic to reach any number of uninspiring little shops. my rather dull morning was livened up by watching 2 traffic policemen beat the living crap out of a drug dealer on the pavement

      The Ramblas is a triumph of hype over substance. That said – from the above description it could be twinned with O’Connell Street. All we need now is zero tolerance

    • #776159
      Global Citizen
      Participant

      @wearnicehats wrote:

      had you turned round you could have photographed slightly diappointed looking tourists winding their way around junkies to peruse a succession of little kiosks selling anything from live birds to hardcore pornography. dicing with death you can cross the traffic to reach any number of uninspiring little shops. my rather dull morning was livened up by watching 2 traffic policemen beat the living crap out of a drug dealer on the pavement

      The Ramblas is a triumph of hype over substance. That said – from the above description it could be twinned with O’Connell Street. All we need now is zero tolerance

      A perfect description.

    • #776160
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @GrahamH wrote:

      1/3/2010

      I see Costa’s new café on the corner of Dawson Street and Molesworth Street has shut down exactly one year since it opened (my, how time flies).


      (March 2009)

      A notice on the door reads the shop is ‘temporarily closed due to relocation’. Given it was an immensely successful operation here, one can only conclude it was the terms of the lease that forced their hand. It was a short term lease that was signed back at the end of 2008, as then reported by The Irish Times.

      Incidentally, their cheeky application for planning permission (note, not retention permission) for all of their external tawdry signage paraphernalia was hearteningly refused by Dublin City Council last year. Not that it made any difference of course. They just held out till they had to up sticks.

      “The cumulative effect of the back-plate, illuminated lettering, canopies, illuminated circular signs, awnings with corporate logo attached, together with a range of other manifestation, including poster display systems, open hours window manifestation and door handles, creates visual clutter in the streetscape and a poor quality image. The proposal would be contrary to The South City Retail Quarter Architectural Conservation Plan and the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

      So where are they off to does anyone know? They’ve literally hired a removal van and taken everything from the counters to the corporate art on the walls. Where are they going to deface next, and will DCC be one step ahead of them this time? Presentation aside, it is a sad loss of a vibrant social amenity in this quarter of the city.

      From today’s Irish Times :
      Meanwhile, back in Dublin Shelbourne has taken back ownership of the big Costa coffee shop on the corner of Dawson Street and Molesworth Street. The franchisee is understood to have been paying a rent of €150,000 as well 12 per cent of turnover for the space. The four years and nine-month lease has a break option around now, and Costa has cleared out leaving yet another blank space in the retail scene.

      K.

    • #776161
      GrahamH
      Participant

      22/3/2010

      A rare surviving element of 1960s shop front heritage in Dublin is in danger of being lost from the capital’s main street.

      The sensitively designed shop front of the former West jewellers, installed c. 1965, gives a contextual nod to the blind-arcaded shop fronts of the Wide Streets Commissioners of the 18th and early 19th centuries, thoroughly reinterpreted using modern materials.

      The famously reticent jewellers closed on Grafton Street in mid-February of this year after nearly three centuries in business. First established on Capel Street in 1720, the firm later moved to College Green in 1845 and subsequently to the present-day River Island premises on Grafton Street, before coming to rest at its current location at Number 33 in 1965.

      It is rare in Dublin that reproduction design works to such elegant effect, and less still when dating to the 1960s, a time when historic shop fronts were being replaced across the city to make way for more contemporary models of retail expression – not an updated version of the same as in the case of West’s.

      Contrived of champagne-coloured aluminium pilasters framing landscape-shaped display windows, the shop front utilises a contemporary material in an ambitious way, employing further strips of purple-toned aluminium as window aprons and either side of the splayed inset entrance bay, as well as above the marching array of fanlights.

      The purple elements have become extremely tired but can probably be re-coloured.

      The fanlights are of course the principal delight of the frontage: beautifully proportioned and delicately detailed.

      The quirkily designed Ionic capitals appear to be of carved and painted timber.

      The current metal fanlights, although venerable in appearance, seem to be a later addition. This snapshot of a Dublin film reel from the late 1960s, shortly after the shopfront was installed, shows what appear to be painted semi-circular panels in their place. Quite visibly this was an unsatisfactory arrangement that no doubt led to their hasty replacement with the current, more substantial ensemble.

      A shame those beautiful cylindrical copper lamps have vanished!

    • #776162
      GrahamH
      Participant

      The shop front trade lettering is also of note. Restrained, crisp and timelessly elegant.

      Take a closer look and the refinement of subtle profiling becomes evident, with a raised ridge surrounding each letter.

      The fascia, albeit somewhat cumbersome in massing, effortlessly incorporates an awning which reads as a streamlined gold string course when closed. I don’t recall it ever being used in recent times.

      The arrangement of this side elevation is unwittingly reminiscent of the grand Wide Streets Commission building at the corner of Thomas Street and Meath Street, where access to the upper floors from the street is also gained through a side entrance at the back of the building.

      Number 33 Grafton Street is of course of significance in itself. A Protected Structure, first impressions suggest this to be amongst the oldest buildings on the thoroughfare, with a curious arrangement of relatively small windows to the front and side elevations and an extremely high ground floor both suggesting modification of an early 18th century townhouse that was once approached by a flight of steps up to the front door, above a partially exposed basement.

      Strangely modified first floor windows of a remarkable small size. The timber balconettes, possibly of the 1960s, are a delight.

      Things get a little more interesting once we look inside. We have no less than what appears to be the remains of an early corner chimneystack on the party wall with the adjacent building.

      The shop itself is graciously decorated; of a vintage that still knew what traditional design was about before the travesty that was the 1980s threw the rulebook out the window and gave it a bad name.

      Vibrant Soane yellow wall coverings with gold trimmings, handsome wall sconces (when was the last time you saw these anywhere?), sophisticated triplets of chic, recessed vintage spotlights, and beautiful curved, glazed timber display cases. The horse… you know you love it.

    • #776163
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Even the fusty, quaint window displays with morbid faux roses tacked onto fabric panels appear to date to the 1960s. Certainly they’ve been there for a decade or three.

      The timber paneling is surely original.

      Macabre qualities aside, this will all shortly be another sad loss of one of the last of the Dublin old school of retailing.

      The reason for the closure of the store is not entirely clear, in spite of the official line that the discreet clientele the store once attracted no longer exist to sustain it in business. Only last August the store applied for planning permission for: “Refurbishment of ground floor shop floor to include: essential maintenance and repair of the historic joinery and shop fittings; the replacement of the late 20th century cabinets/counters with high quality timber units; the upgrading of security and the upgrading of mechanical and electrical services.” Little more than a few months later, and the business, with reserves of nearly €400,000, claims it can no longer survive. The various media articles covering the story at the time all quoted oddly erratic explanations for its closure. What is perhaps of greater relevance is that Joe Moran of Manor Park Homes now owns a majority stake in the business, and the value of the property, with apparently unused upper floors, may not have been realised…

      In any event, any Section 57 Declaration commissioned for the property over the next while should unquestioningly, in my view, list the shop front as being an intrinsic part of the special character of the building. Careful consideration must be given to any proposed alteration. One possible solution to bring the frontage up to date for modern retailing requirements, is to allow for the removal of the lower window aprons in favour of full-length display windows.

      Otherwise, the character and integrity of this charming shop front, which sits in a sophisticated quiet elegance adjacent to virtually every other shop front along this stretch, must be retained. It is the very last if its kind on Grafton Street, and one of the few worthy design statements of its era in the city at large. It also stands as an important and enduring reminder of the venerable Dublin institution that served the city for nearly three centuries, as jewellers to the Lord Mayor, and by appointment to Queen Victoria and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

    • #776164
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Such a shame to see West go, I had heard that their rent was increased recently to such an extent as to make the business unviable, not sure how much truth there is in that in West’s case, but crazy rent increases are certainly the primary factor behind the streets decline.

    • #776165
      gunter
      Participant

      A lot to think about with that magnificent dissertation on the ‘West’ shopfront by Graham 🙂

      Certainly managed to highlight qualities I had never noticed before, and qualities I wouldn’t have necessarily regarded particularly highly until they were set out and explained in that way.

      I read the beginnings of a debate [which unfortunately then died] on this subject on another forum recently where it was pointed out that the ability of the trained eye to search out and reveal delight in the detail of a pretty mundane and tacky building, poses a challenge to the architectural critic: Does he explore and extol these hiden delights in the hope that others may be challenged to look more deeply at the built environment around them, or does he lose the plot in doing this, by bluring the distinction between the good and the bad . . . in finding some good in the bad.

      Then you add nostalgia into the mix and you start to wonder if your growing affection for some building or feature isn’t just a knee-jerk reaction to finding out that it’s about to be demolished, rather than any dispassionate evaluation of it’s worth. Liberty Hall would be another case in point – personally I’m fighting off feeling of affection for this eyesore that I had no feelings for at all until there was talk of knocking it down.

      It’s a complex field. If there is merit in preserving the West shopfront, I’ don’t think the deep, bland, boxy, facia should be included, notwithsatanding the high quality of the lettering.

      Just on that white horse,

      Is that one of those ‘protestant’ white horses, I wonder? [as discussed of the ‘Billy’ thread a good while back]

    • #776166
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Ha I was wondering that too.

      Spot on observations regarding… observations. My thoughts exactly, particularly as a result of being regularly exposed to this example over the past while through the media coverage of West’s closure, and through passing it by quite often. Add twenty minutes of photographing it into the mix and arguably objectivity gets thrown out the window. Nonetheless, while quirky features or minor detailing may reveal themselves during the course of assessment, muddying the waters somewhat as regards inherent worth or value, the substantive issue remains that the shop front in its entirety remains of architectural value as an expression of thoughtful, well considered 1960s retail design, of which precious few examples remain in the city today.

      From a conservation standpoint, the primary question to be asked is the value or merit of the aluminium cladding and the degree to which is should be preserved. One school of thought may deem the material to be a tacky, quick fix solution that has degraded and ultimately long passed its shelf life. The other line of reasoning, which I would hold, is that the material was deliberately chosen as an elegant, modern but tasteful expression of the jewellery trade, whose use of sultry tones transformed an emerging practical construction material onto a sophisticated piece of architecture. In design terms, the poor resolution of the lower apron panels at pavement level admittedly give the material a stuck on appearance, but as a complete ensemble the aluminium works to refined effect.

      This in turns begs the question as to what can be changed with the frontage. Fully agreed with gunter that the fascia can go – it is crude and unresolved. Indeed I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the legacy of a previous tenant in the building. Dropping the windows presents a challenge, as not only are the aprons lost – which are intimately linked with the spandrels between the fanlights – but the whole sense of peering into a jewel case with its quaint landscape windows is also lost in such a scenario. Indeed the windows, with their gold aluminium frames, are one of the principal charms of the frontage. Certainly they are adequate in size for modern retailing. The trade-off would be a more transparent entrance in place of the rather seedy original door, which I don’t think anyone will lose too much sleep over.

    • #776167
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      While a huge “fan” of 50s-70s architecture, I think the re-assessment of this shopfront is bordering on nostalgia run mad – I blame Pathe newsreels.

      It’s never been a particularly attractive shopfront in my opinion, and if it were four years old, instead of 40, you would be condemning the fake fanlights, and the aluminium fascia as being cheap and nasty. The modern shopfronts that you commend are the direct antithesis of this. It’s a curio, and probably designed by someone as a modern homage o the WSC shopfronts but not worthy of conservation.

      Just my 2c.

      But if someone wants to paint the upper floors to get rid of that green, I’ll give a hand on my next free weekend…

    • #776168
      publicrealm
      Participant
      gunter wrote:
      on this subject on another forum recently where it was pointed out that the ability of the trained eye to search out and reveal delight in the detail of a pretty mundane and tacky building, poses a challenge to the architectural critic: Then you add nostalgia into the mix and you start to wonder if your growing affection for some building or feature isn’t just a knee-jerk reaction to finding out that it’s about to be demolished, rather than any dispassionate evaluation of it’s worth. Liberty Hall would be another case in point – personally I’m fighting off feeling of affection for this eyesore that I had no feelings for at all until there was talk of knocking it down.

      Great observation Gunter.

      I was having this debate with myself the other day. I think I appreciate certain buildings and facets of buildings (I’m not an architect) and I have found this forum very helpful in the smaller things – stuff I would not previously have noticed – such as street paving and unusual windows (and particularly I remember a very illuminating thread on council estate windows and design – brilliant – I have been pontificating about council estates ever since).

      Probably like lots of people on the forum I get pleasure from these little observations, but sometimes I just don’t get it – and this shopfront is one example. It’s not the best example – because I can see why someone might treasure it – but some of the issues which exercise people leave me cold and then I wonder if we are all (to varying degrees) a little obscure and irrelevant.

      Again, I found the shopfront thread very illuminating and interesting when it dealt with desecration of old county town shopfronts – photos by Devin if I recall, but I’m far less convinced of the value of the Centra debate in Westmoreland Street. Not a criticism – just a personal observation.

      And like you I suddenly love Liberty Hall.:rolleyes:

    • #776169
      Punchbowl
      Participant

      The thing about this shop(front) is that it looks like it’s always been there. To my uneducated eyes, it could have easily been an 18th century shop, but even though it’s not, it’s certainly an unusual 1960’s parody which has it’s own merits.. I suppose the saddest thing is that it is an historic trader, which continued to exist whilst all around it was gradualy taken over by multi nationals..

    • #776170
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Yes that does colour matters considerably, Punchbowl.

      But even on an objective basis, I think this frontage has considerable panache: an elegance that is let down, if not virtually obscured, by a tatty decorative appearance. Of course one could not advocate such a use of aluminium today, not least as has been demonstrated, it doesn’t appear to last without considerable retreatment or renewal. And the material is not fashionable to the contemporary eye. Just as the use of bronze or brass in shop fronts is considered passé, doesn’t mean we ditch it, especially where a material is as inoffensively used as on West’s frontage. Indeed the pilasters are positively regal – much better detailed than the dross we commonly get today.

      Full agreed on that utterly hideous green; it makes this one of the most unbearable buildings in the capital to look at. But just imagine the upper elevations painted a soft cream, with windows and reveals in a dark buff shade (Conservation Code #567841), complemented by a slick new narrow fasica with crisp mounted lettering. The sultry shop front (spruced up a notch) would look simply fabulous. No contest.

    • #776171
      urbanisto
      Participant

      And of course remove that “high quality” lighting.

      Actually I agree that the shopfront is rather ugly. I would actually hazzard a guess that West’s refusal to update their premises and maintain a quality retain frontage contributed to their demise. The shop just doesnt attract anyone from the street.

    • #776172
      Cathal Dunne
      Participant

      @GrahamH wrote:

      1/3/2010

      I see Costa’s new café on the corner of Dawson Street and Molesworth Street has shut down exactly one year since it opened (my, how time flies).


      (March 2009)
      .

      I was walking past the closed Costa café and now its all boarded up with white boards. The dragon stone is gone as well. It looks very forlorn.

      While I was on my jaunt, it did strike me how shoddy some shopfronts are. They’re covered with stickers, unneccessary paraphernalia, gaudy signs and the like. Do retailers think we’re completely blind that we wouldn’t know there were shops there without all the clutter?

    • #776173
      hutton
      Participant

      I got to say, faded and unkempt that it now appears, I have always loved the West shop front. What a wonderful joyful parody of WSC fronts. This is the camp swash-buckling caricature approach usually reserved for the Victorian interiors of theatres such as the Gaiety and the Olympia, turned inside-out and applied to what is usually the serious, sometimes po-faced, genre of the language of neo-classicism. How could anybody but love the over-the-top fanlights resting on the self-effacing golden pilasters? Rather than it becoming just another non-descript shop front as everywhere elsewhere in the city, restore and keep it I say! 🙂

    • #776174
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Ah Golden Pilasters. There’s a breakfast cereal in that yet!

      Part of another 1960s-era shop front survives nearby. This contemporary snapshot of what looks to be a southside shop front, with a thin veneer of po-faced, applique neoclassicim characteristic of the swashbuckling early Haughey Dublin, seems like Switzers.

      So it was. One would imagine that all of this would be long removed following the onslaught of Marks and Spencer, but not entirely so. A little fragment of the ensemble survives on Duke Lane.

      The surviving vent underneath the above panel suggests this is the same elevation as depicted in the above newsreel shot. The Ionic-columned entrance, complete with uniformed doorman, as barely evident to the extreme left in the first picture, has since vanished. I’d often wondered if Duke Lane was once much more prominent than it is now – would that be the case? If the Grafton Arcade was around back then, it would explain matters.

      Perhaps the architect of the above lived out in Rathmines. The arch-headed panels are vagurely reminicent of that curious pair of iced Victorian houses off Mountpleasant Avenue 🙂

    • #776175
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @gunter wrote:

      Just on that white horse,

      Is that one of those ‘protestant’ white horses, I wonder? [as discussed of the ‘Billy’ thread a good while back]

      Missed that horse bit in the Billy thread, but I think that it might be a Hutschenreuther horse; that business was famouse for its glazed horses and was bought out by Rosenthal in 2000.
      FWIW
      K.

    • #776176
      cheezypuf
      Participant

      The reason for the closure of the store is not entirely clear

      I’m glad someone has a sense of humour. Have you ever been inside West’s? In fact, has anyone ever been inside West’s? Retailing on Graton Street has changed a little in the last 50 years. A jewellers with a locked door in to which prospective customers cannot see, fronted by a dated aluminium pastiche exterior is doomed to failure. My only surprise is that it made it this far.

    • #776177
      Devin
      Participant

      Peats Electronics have had their “temporary” shop sign on the landmark Pen Corner building on Dame Street for more than a year now. A slap-it-up-on-a-Friday-afternoon job, still there a year later.

      Shouldn’t DCC be taking a proactive stance to uphold the quality of the city centre, rather than just wait ’til such time as someone makes a complaint about something like this, with the drawn out planning enforcement process following, and inevitable playing for time behaviour of offendees? …….. seems crazy that buildings can just have this done to them for an ongoing period of time … in what is supposedly a major European city.

    • #776178
      Devin
      Participant

      Just to clarify, it says temporary sign in the bottom right:

    • #776179
      Anonymous
      Participant

      With that level of carpentry they might as well have chiseled the words ‘temporary building’ into the corbel it is chased around. Ordinarliy I’m not fussed on signage but this building if it were cleaned could be a real trophy asset and once this sign gets retention by the effluxion of time you’ll never see the back of it.

    • #776180
      johnglas
      Participant

      You just have to face up to the fact you have a naff planning department; I’d love to hear one of them defending their record. ‘Temporary’ should mean about six weeks.

    • #776181
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Dammit Devin! I was hoping this one would beat a record at some point – now it just may be prompted to come down (even if in the next decade or two). It beggars belief this yoke has sat here for so long without anyone in authority so much as batting an eyelid – indeed, as far as I can remember it has been here for close on two years at this stage.

      And not only that, the tatty newsagents next door has all manner of non-compliant clutter and ‘attendant features’ about its frontage, including LED strips around the doorway that beat the best efforts of Korean restaurants on Parnell Street, while right next door on the other side, as we speak, there is lurid pink signage being erected on what is one of the last historic shop fronts in this part city, on College Green, on a Protected Structure. A particular delight is the mammoth sheet of perspex that has been siliconed in in place of the plate glass, and this is before the internal signage, postering and sandwich board for the milkshake-making occupant arrives to decorate the windows.

      Without question it is the appalling standards of planning enforcement along Dame Street that is causing this shoddy presentation to spread like a cancer through the so-called ‘Grand Civic Throughfare’. The chic, if inappropriately historic-styled new shop front of Le Circ further up the street has just been modified barely a year after it was installed, once a deep and sultry aqua-marine blue, now painted lurid pillar box red, with salvaged two-over-two sash windows stuck into it! Kitty’s Cottage comes to Dame Street! Likewise, the beautiful turreted sandstone building on the corner of Grafton Street has a shop unit on the ground floor that has gone through three different uses in the space of a year, including an application for a café that sadly never went ahead. Now it’s a cheapo travel agents if I remember right, with nasty primary colours used on its nasty boxy timber inserts in the pointed gothic opes.

      It’s all just getting way out of hand. Still nothing has happened with the totally non-compliant frontage of Spar in the Burton building, nor with yet another Asian restaurant that has opened across the road with a totally illegal stone-clad fascia and shop front that can be seen from outer space, nor the horrific newsagents that has morphed into an Indian restaurant across the road from Dublin Castle… nor nor… it just goes on and on.

      Not only does enforcement has to be stepped up, but legislation just has to be streamlined. The court-based system doesn’t work. Local authorities should be able to issue fines on a time period basis – as long as your non-compliant works stay in place, the more you continue to pay. It’s the only thing that does work.

    • #776182
      Devin
      Participant

      The Planning Enforcement system in Dublin is not working. There is something deeply wrong, because there is a planning enforcement system but it is not working.

      .

      As documented earlier in the thread, this Spar(left), in a sensitive location opposite the seventeenth-century St. Mary’s Church (now pub), had put up plastic box signs on the shop fascia when it opened in 2006, which are contrary to section 15.32.4 of development plan. A complaint was lodged at the time, but the signs were still there when it shut recently. And now it’s been replaced by some homemade paddy-ass version (right) which is using the same unauthorised box-signs on the fascia, except bigger.

    • #776183
      Smithfield Resi
      Participant

      Of course these abuses of the system only occur where grubby greed and materialism come into it. I’m delighted that we have organisations that put protected structures to reuse and preserve and enhance their character as part of their day to day operations. I took a stroll past one of them today just to admire the grace with which they are conducting their strategic vision of ‘Create ambassadors to promote Dublin as a must-visit destination’.

      Of course one must understand how they are funded. Very well it seems.

      Nice brass..of course this isn’t really enough to ensure everyone sees what they are at…time for a sign..

      or two…

      Now…to attract in the crowds we had better tell them what we do. After all the name Tourist Information and two small signs isn’t going to tell them…

      What do we have? We have……

      Information!! That’s right. Information. And Stuff. Lots of Stuff.

      Oh – we had better tell them about the Stuff. Yes, the Stuff. Just in case they don’t come in. And we have those signs CIE gave us.

      and this Stuff

      Of course … these are a bit small, and behind our railings. Soooo… we’ve been thinking. Outside the Box. Like Ann Riordan, our chair. We are going to rethink the paradim! Yeah! With CorriBoard! And Railings!! Come see our INFORMATION!!!!!! Yeah!!

      Oh.

      That looks….

      a bit like we are selling GAA tickets…we need to tell them more then! “Tell them, they will come….”

      Now step back admire the effect!

      Wonderful. They will come. They will come…

      ____________________________

    • #776184
      Smithfield Resi
      Participant

      Just wrote a long analysis of why I am so disgusted with Dublin Tourism – including four citations where they have been expressly barred from erecting advertising on this structure. When I think of the amount of effort I put into enforcement.. 😡 ..(blood boiling…)

      However Microsoft Internet Explorer has just crashed on me twice now…losing content…that I am beginning to think that it might have something to do with Dublin Tourisms Chair!! (Google it)

      In the meantime – when you get this ^^^ being done by state bodies; is it ANY suprise that we get this on Grafton St….

    • #776185
      Smithfield Resi
      Participant

      By the way if anyone has pics of Dublin Tourism pre signage (with dates if possible) please post here…

    • #776186
      GrahamH
      Participant

      I don’t mind the self-contained glass display units on the inner wall of the arcade. They don’t interfere with the design integrity of the church on the streetscape, while (in theory) allowing for a minimal street presence for the occupant. Alas, they appear to be used as little more than advertising revenue generators, rather than serving as objective information panels. Which comes as no surprise. The railing panels are an abomination. Which also comes as no surprise from Dublin Tourism. I invite anyone to go inside and take on the daunting challenge of finding out a scrap of information about the city. You might as well be walking into Carroll’s of Westmoreland Street. An absolute scandal. The place exists to line the pockets of its concessions and to tell tourists how to get out of the city. But everyone has known this for years – no point wasting breath on it.

      Over on Dawson Street, the former Costa premises has finally been replaced by another, higher class, coffee outfit. Priding themselves on a quality product and a quality service, this place has admirable notions, if not quite in relation to the planning process. Incredibly, unbelievably, in spite of the fuss surrounding the previous occupant and the refusal of permission for all of their external clutter, this operator hasn’t applied for planning permission either!

      Yes their signage is more muted, better designed, and their various accoutrements less obtrusive, but planning is planning. After many months of preparing and fitting out this store, it is truly remarkable they have not seen fit to apply for permission for their external alterations. And for what it’s worth, while their new signage is a decent stab at a fresh statement, at the end of the day, a sticky-up board frankly is not of sufficient design standard for this supposedly prestigious retail area. Not from a prissy conservation standpoint, but from a good design standpoint. A sign mounted on such a large expanse of wall demands a high relief, sculptural quality – not a laser-cut. flat-pack solution. Standards in this area of the city – deserving of a thread of its own – have been plmutting through the floor in recent years. Like the rest of the city centre, it’s getting close to a free-for-all out there, with nobody steering the ship.

      Inside, the flooring is just exquisite – beautiful tiles set in panels of dark timber. What a striking combination.

      Similarly, the ceilings are fresh and elegant, the lighting sharp and the counter set-up innovative.

      Less successful are the overly high partition walls clad in lavatory-like mosaic. They lend a clinical quality to the room, while obliterating one of the principal activities conducted in coffee places – watching other people buy coffee, and the frenetic activity that comes with it. Especially on a Sunday – what modicum of life that stirs in the place is hidden. Not good for the image. The mosaic is also too busy, clashing with the already frenzied floor. Timber would have been nicer.

      It’ll be interesting to see how the place trades anyway. The service is superb, the coffee the second best in Dublin, and the rocky roads even better than the surface of Dawson Street.

    • #776187
      gunter
      Participant

      @GrahamH wrote:

      . . . . and the coffee the second best in Dublin,

      I bet it’s not Centra?

    • #776188
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Exposed again 😮

      :p

    • #776189
      GrahamH
      Participant

      26/8/2010

      A recent flurry of improving works involving a number of properties around the city centre in recent weeks and months has served as a potent example of what can be achieved with a lick of paint – even if in some cases it has worked to questionable effect. The summer months really do seem to bring out the industrious spirit in people.

      One of the largest scaffolds erected in Dublin on an existing building in recent years dominated the centre of Dame Street for much of the summer.

      The building at the junction of Dame Street and South Great George’s Street got a much needed sprucing up after decades of neglect, as with countless historic properties in the city centre.

      The final stretch of a Wide Streets Commission terrace dating to the 1780s, adorned with Victorian stucco adornments, the Mercantile Hotel presented a grim aspect to Dame Street with a grubby white façade accented in black – typical of the 1970s.

      The transformation has been nothing short of a breath of fresh air.

      It is like a switch has just been flicked.

      As can be seen, in addition to the main facade, the previously unpainted gable end of the last house – which has remained exposed since the 1930s when the terminating house was demolished to improve the operation of the tram line – has been given decorative treatment for the very first time. While it has lifted matters considerably, it has to be asked if this measure merely consolidates the exposed gable end’s position here for all eternity. Likewise, the once gritty, raw and urban rendered gable hinted at a troubled history – a curious wound on the streetscape. Now it just looks like a mediocre suburban solution to the back arse of a garage. Still, that marvellously handsome chimney stack elevates it beyond the ordinary. And as the precedent for one of Zoe’s Mountjoy Square houses, it can’t be all bad!

      A subtle and elegant use of colour.

      The next person that says double-glazed panes don’t alter the appearance of a building can go stick their head under a closing sash.

      The beautifully painted new shopfronts. An interesting choice of colour. Nothing inventive going on here (somebody show these guys a Cushman photo or two) but satisfactory nonetheless.

      This of course is one of the most charming shopfronts in Dublin – precisely because it’s not off the shelf. The glittering, hand crafted coves have always been a delight.

      What a difference simple tables and chairs and a few potted trees make, both to an architectural ensemble such as this apse as well as to a wider street.

      We shall be keeping a close eye on these lads. How long shall we give before the novelty wears off, things get battered, banners and canvas railings start appearing, the postering goes up… We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

    • #776190
      GrahamH
      Participant

      The painting of the ground floor highlights the mismatched nature of the shopfronts. Some unification would be desirable here.

      It also highlights a broader issue: namely that the two distinct properties here really should have been given different decorative treatment, with the five-bay building in the distance being the most cohesive, with elegant shopfronts and good quality stucco to the upper floors. Painting everything the same colours confuses the design intention of the stucco adornments – their very function being to differentiate buildings on the street.

      Rickis on the corner steadfastly refusing to get in on the act of course. Indeed, he went out of his way to advertise his place during works, with naff stickers applied to every conceivable pole around it, and a large sign tacked up around the back of the building which hasn’t come down since. A class act.

      Like the flagpole holders. There’s always some addition forgotton during painting!

      There are white uplighter lamps being trialled above the shopfronts at the minute.

      The doll’s house rear of the Mercantile on Dame Lane has also been painted.

      Nearby on the corner of Exchequer Street, the corner restaurant has changed hands for at least the third time in as many years. Finally, a beautiful new treatment after a ghastly white scheme applied by the last tenant.

      Pavement barriers are generally highly disagreeable, but in this instance they are understandable at this busy junction. A fine design too.

      These guys know what they’re at.

      Back to Dame Street again and the South Great George’s Street junction. Finished for quite a while now, two of the most prominent eyesores in the city have just been given a lick of paint. Terminating the vista of George’s Street stand this frothy collection assemblage of Victoriana. This is the newly completed paint scheme.

      The right-hand building was not treated as part of the works.

      Some before and after shots.

    • #776191
      GrahamH
      Participant

      The below picture may need to be refreshed.

      Quite a transformation.

      But again the job played it safe with uniform paint colours on two very different buildings (and rare in style in the Dublin context at that), while also failing to tackle structural issues such as the reinstatement of a tripartite sash window on the middle building (where the window is used as an electronic billboard at night) and cabling continues to marr the shopfronts.

      I really want to support the new Centra store and adjacent unit (out of shot) and the design concept behind it, and most of it is indeed successful, but there are issues of odd materials, dodgy proportions and cumbersome lighting units that sadly let the ensemble down for me. Good to see they’re complying with their postering planning conditions and lofty aspirations to upmarket presentation in their application :rolleyes:

      Up the road on Lord Edward Street, the oldest building on the thoroughfare was recently refurbished for use by the social services next door. Aside from multiple Victorian doors, architraving and skirting ending up in numerous skips out on the road, things were going swimmingly with a lovely new coat of soft green paint applied to the doors and window of the charming original limestone shopfront.

      Until the lady in charge told the painter she didn’t like it, got him to repaint the entire thing in er…

      “I-a, I-a preferred da aaader color toooo – this is very biiiiight!!” he told me. Listen to your painter missus…

      The Legion of Mary comes to Lord Edward Street.

      Pity that clunky fascia didn’t come down; looks like there’s a nice slab of limestone underneath it. Lovely new lettering applied nonetheless.

      Nice cleaning of a smart Edwardian over on Exchequer Street.

      No white paint – yay!

      Sultry and sophisticated. Perfect.

    • #776192
      Cathal Dunne
      Participant

      Some good stuff well-documented there, Graham. Great to see Dame St receiving plenty of treatment. It’s a fine thoroughfare and the buildings along it should reflect that. Perhaps this is now a case of shopfront race to the top!

    • #776193
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Not something that can be said of this new job over on Nassau Street.

      Okay, so this really surmises the jist of what this whole post is about. Yes, it’s all very well and good to get on the phone to Peter the Painter and get the windows ‘done’, get the walls ‘done’ and the place ‘cleaned up a bit’. But these buildings are not 79 Glenwood Drive in Knocklyon – they are substantial historic properties on the principal streets of the capital that demand, never mind require, a coordinated design strategy before a paintbrush is even applied. And we must face up to the reality that, far from things having become more sophisticated during the boom years across the board, we have lost huge craft in even the deceptively simple task of painting a building or shopfront. Many firms don’t have clue how to identify a building, never mind its constituent parts, or the colours that may be appropriate for each, or the building as a whole based on its period.

      Here we have a totally wasted expense on three buildings that looked better before work ever got underway. The central ebullient building, the former iconic Jammet’s restaurant, has effectively been erased of its stucco dressings, while adjacent brick buildings have had yet another thick layer of paint applied over their original facings.

      Above and below are the same view with half a century in between.

      Mercy, the art of the shopfront has been lost…

      But the point is, this is an example of funds being misdirected because there are no mechanisims in place like in other cities at municipal level to offer assistance or direction in these matters. Had the substantial money invested in scaffolding, labour and paint been diverted and topped up by a free rotating scaffold by DCC, a small facade improvement grant provided by a lottery fund, and expert advice provided in house by a small DCC architectural team, these properties could have been restored to their full potential. The central bulding could have had an appropriately vigorous paint scheme employed, while the two adjacent buildings could have been stripped of paint and render where possible, the original brick exposed, and appropriate fenestration reinserted.

      The brick of the right-hand building survives with apparently fine tuck pointing.

      As for this once fine two-bay house. What a complete mess. These buildings, even with all the will in the world by owners, will never achieve their full potential without the input of the planning authority, and in particular the initiative of the planning authority to identify buildings such as this and take action to address them.

      A dedicated design team is badly needed specifically to tackle the presentation of facades of Dublin’s principal and secondary streets. Let’s even get the main ones right to begin with.

      Including St. Stephen’s Green.

    • #776194
      urbanisto
      Participant

      The newly renovated Mercantile on Dame Street is a revelation…a really beautiful job, although as you say let down by the corner unit and dare I say the rear wall and fenestration which you see from S.G. Georges Street. In fact the little “space” here is a prime candidate for improvement.

      Two other Dame Street properties I would like to see tackled are Mermaid Cafe and Gruel building – given a lively paint job when the restaurant first opened in the 1990s but now increasingly dirty and forlorn looking – and The Pen Corner building – surely one of the outstanding buildings on the street lost beneath a layer of soot and dirt. I imagine were this building to be cleaned it would provide a revelation similar to Govt Building when it was “revealed” to the city in 1990.

      A good collection there Graham.

    • #776195
      -Donnacha-
      Participant

      Sterling work Graham, really excellent. By any chance have you seen the smiles dental clinic on O’Connell St? Some very dodgy signage has been used.

    • #776196
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Alas yes archipig 🙁 – and it’s unauthorised. They erected beautiful chrome plaques when they first moved in, before promptly taking them down and erecting green tackorama on the columns which kinks as they wrap around them, and another green band over the door. Such a shame. No style.

    • #776197
      urbanisto
      Participant

      But you see the place above all the surrounding shite….which is important.

      – “Where abouts on O’Connell Street are you?”
      – “Beside Ann Summers?”
      – “Huh?”
      – “The really, loike, old building beside Ann Summers with the bright green pillars”

    • #776198
      Devin
      Participant

      That Smiles on O’Connell Street applied for an “external apple-shaped sign to be positioned between the two central columns of the double storey portico” in 2007. They complained that people were having difficulty finding them and that some form of appropriate signage was needed which would be “identifiable, abstract and innovative” and which did not damage the architectural character of the existing building (see planning app. cover letter – http://www.dublincity.ie/AnitePublicDocs/00168789.pdf). They said this sign would be like “the hanging of a lantern from the portico of a fine building.”

      But the City Council refused it, as they considered it would be “visually obtrusive and inconsistent with the character of the building, and would detract from the setting of the protected structure” – 3701/07 …… seemed odd to me given the nature of what was proposed and given the wider fight against the tirade of cheap, rotten design-free shops & signage in the area. If the CC really thought what was proposed was unacceptable, shouldn’t the applicant have been encouraged to come back with another design with the building in mind, rather than forcing them down the unauthorised and inevitably poorer-quality signage route in order to stay afloat?

    • #776199
      Devin
      Participant

      Oops, that planning reference number link doesn’t work. This is the correct one: <a href="http://www.dublincity.ie/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=3701/07&backURL=Search%20Criteria%20>%203701/07

      Passed by the Smiles on O’Connell Street at the weekend and its signage is really not that bad at all – by no means garish. It just needs a holistic treatment with the building.

    • #776200
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Ah now Devin – that was a rather ridiculous proposal that was invasive to boot. Just plain silly looking. Typically, the colour wasn’t declared in the application either, other than the giant apple would have an ‘enamel finish’.

      The new unauthorised signage on the columns is cheap and ugly. The unauthorised green band over the door is acceptable, but the previous signage was better.

      I see Spar across the road are up to their old tricks again covering over their chromed signage, this time not with a banner, but an entirely new sign! As for the rest of the street – the place is just falling down with crass unauthorised development, much of it on foot of recent planning applications with completely ignored conditions. It is tiresome listing it all. Planning control legislation just has to be changed. Not only could an instant reversal of unauthorised development take place, fines could be a real cash cow for Dublin City Council if there will was there. But it’s not.

    • #776201
      Devin
      Participant

      Re: Smiles. Well that kind of abstract, stark idea on a classical building can look good …. have seen some examples in London, I think.

      Whatever is there at the moment is pretty minimal. Would be way down the list of offenders on O’Conn St. …… unless they put on something during business hours I didn’t see?

    • #776202
      urbanisto
      Participant

      The recent improvements to buildings on Dame Street are ongoing. I see the scaffold up above Toni and Guy and the adjoining vacant shop. Toni and Guy has a lovely decorative oriel window and it will be great to see it painted and the facade improved. The last occupier of the vacant unit was a kebab shop (one of many along Dame Street). Hopefully something more upmarket is planned.

      And there are a few other notable additions to the streetscape about the city. Exchequer Street continues to retain a very high standard to shops and shopfronts. The latest additions to the street include The Green Hen (a very nice new French style bistro) and a very attractive use of green tiles further down the street for a new bakery and coffee shop (cant remember the name). They both add greatly to the quality of this street

      Another noted building (though not really a shopfront) is the Bookend building (or at least its neighbour) on Essex/Wood Quay. This building was one of the more impressive new buildings in the city in the early 1990s as part of the Temple Bar development. Since then the constant traffic along the quays (including buses and lorries) had left the frontage dirty and worn. The shop/office units at street level are occupied by a solicitors but hardly make an impact on the street. The building was under scaffold for a few weeks over the past months and has now been revealed. The render facade has been cleaned and metalwork cleaned and repaired. Of interest are the new cyan coloured windows. I quite like them.

      Further down the quays the former city council office at Wellington Quay are being remodeled with a rather bland and standard facade. Still, the original building was a bit of a blight on this section of the quays (a smaller section occupies a prominent point on Essex Street) and the remodeling is welcome. It would be good to see some improvement to the public realm along the quay here. Maybe some trees and greater width to allow for more life along this stretch.

    • #776203
      urbanisto
      Participant

      We are getting used to the idea that so much of what was gained over the past few years is being slowly eroded. This sad state of affairs can increasingly be seen in the city centre ( and many other town centres I imagine).

      Walking through Dublin last week I couldnt help but notice the degree to which shopfronts have declines. BTs dazzling display aside, a great many shops are falling back into all the bad habits that are well illustrated in this thread.

      I have heard a rumour that the City Council are now taking a blind eye approach to all new retail in the city centre. Put anything into a unit…as long as they pay rates. There appears to be no enforcement, no requirement to apply for permission to change shopfront, no application of the Shopfront Guidelines, little or no attempt to curb garish frontages. I know its Christmas etc but every shop window now seems plastered with poasters and stickers and temporary banners.

      As ever, ethnic stores are the biggest offender. There seems to bean acceptance that all these operators are outside of the planning system. Some of the Polish skjeps in particular are dreadful.

      Fair enough its a recession. Many of those smart boutiques and lifestyle shops are bound to close down as less money is about. And for whatever odd reasons the demand for tackarama euro shops increases.

      I must get my camera out for some of the worst culprits.

      Perhaps I am just a snob 🙂

    • #776204
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Perhaps I am just a snob

      I fear not; coming in on Aircoach you really noticed the number of new signs particularly in the North Inner City; places like North Frederick Street and Parnell Square; what is going on here is that landlord’s desperate to secure any tenant are letting these units often previously in office use to very marginal businesses such as steriod shops, gym’s and mobile phone accessory shops; the tenants are often from juristictions where planning and lease compliance are alien concepts. Compare this with Grafton Street which other than Korkey’s illegal crusade banner is not just under control but it is appropriate, attractive and condusive to both retailers taking money and a good urban environment.

      Recession or no recession some of the signage being put up is beyond a joke; Dublin needs to get off its arse, stop feeling sorry for itself and create the type of environment that will make visitors return….

    • #776205
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Aha – Stephen’s eyes have been assaulted by the new Polish supermarket opposite St. Mary’s Church! Did ya ever see the like in all your days? Any other European city and this would be a quaint historic church surrounded by a civic square, little cafés and provisions shops and a daily on-street flower market. Here, we get a redundant roadway – newly paved specifically to make it more redundant – an industrially-railed off church curtilage crowded with commercial tat, a Polish supermarket straddling at least two historic properties forming the setting with newly mauled upper facades, and a fascia board ya can see from outer space!

      Dublin city centre is coming down with unauthorised retail development at present – journalists really should be picking up on this. The entire city is transforming itself into Frank McDonald’s trashy honky tonk O’Connell Street of twenty years ago. Westmoreland Street as we all know is a complete write-off. Dame Street is without question within 18 months of being the same; indeed it is almost there, riddled with unauthorised uses, shopfronts and signage. Lower Grafton Street – give it a year at most based on current trends. Dawson Street is a complete kip and has been for years – how nobody else sees this is beyond me. Grafton Street gets worse by the second. Even South William Street has been losing the modest gains of recent years.

      Everywhere you turn, a new Book Value has cropped up with its lurid turquoise plywood shopfront. What trades as a ‘pop-up’ bookstore is in fact a thriving chain specialising in unauthorised development – South Great George’s Street, Westmoreland Street, Bachelor’s Walk, lower Grafton Street, Merrion Row and elsewhere. Projecting signage is spreading like wildfire through the city. Postering and banners galore. Unauthorised fascias, facade-mounted signage, flagpoles, speakers – you name it. O’Connell Street has got so bad it is virtually impossible to keep track of what’s going on over there – every second store is breaking the law. Carroll’s Irish Gifts and Griffins newsagents have the entire centre wrapped up through unauthorised development – a mass action should be taken by the Department of Environment at this point against these persistent offenders.

      It is well known that DCC Enforcement is grossly under-resourced thanks to the embargo on public sector recruitment and the loss of critical staff in the past year – including the only conservation enforcement officer. Similarly, the push for rates must surely be mitigating against any desire to push for standards across the city centre.

      This just has to change. Dublin has actually been very lucky thus far – there has been relatively few closures in the past few years, in spite of the downturn in spending, and footfall is still holding up. Dublin never seems to suffer the fate of UK urban centres where clusters of vacant units tend to emerge as an immediate sign of a downturn. However, the new year will surely bring a whole new host of realities, and if decent planning codes and standards of presentation are not adhered to – in what is already a distinctly shoddy public realm in the city core – Dublin will only shoot itself in the foot. Indeed, even as we speak, the new Costa on College Green have just waltzed in, set up shop in one of the most prominent and architecturally significant buildings in the city in the former Daly’s club house, without so much as a peep from the planning authority, erected signage, flagpoles and lighting all over the façade, and are now applying for retention permission, plus permission to chop out the granite aprons of the arched shopfront! It simply beggars belief. The fact they think they can get away with this speaks volumes about the authority, the interest, the policy and the vision of the planning body running Dublin city – and for that matter, the mediocre and parochial standards of most of the merchants operating here.

      It’s not all doom and gloom – the Henry Street axis is now without question the best looking street in Dublin, with Mary Street of a truly international – if somewhat soulless – standard. Grand, tall, gracious, immaculately designed and presented shopfronts, good displays, beautifully presented and illuminated historic facades – it makes Grafton Street and most of the city centre look like a landfill site. Needliess to say, it takes international retailers and their own handbook standards to improve the otherwise shoddy urban environment and standards of presentation in Dublin. Likewise, Exchequer Street is now the new Grafton Street – no question about it. The crown has been taken.

      Planning policy leaders, planning enforcement, merchants and business associations seriously need to pull together to get this city into shape.

    • #776206
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Eh exactly..I was going to say all that but I got too depressed.

      The fact remains that Dublin is still a desirable place for international retailers. In recent months, we have had Forever21, New Look and Next added to Jervis. Abercrombie and Fitch are taking the former Habitat store. Smaller boutique retailers regularly pop up on Grafton St and Exchequer St. As you rightly point out Graham, Exchequer St is one of the few city streets which feels as if it is actively managed – I wonder is it? Is most of the street owned by a single landlord. However, this attractiveness will very quickly be lost if the complete lack of planning enforcement, application of planning laws and overall vision for the city centre we see today is allowed to continue.

      Some other offences to the senses:

      Subway – bypassing any restrictions on new fastfood outlets in ACA and SPC areas by simply setting up shop in convenience stores, in most cases our old friend Griffiths.
      Cant get your signage installed outside the premises? All you need to do here is plaster the window of the premises with signage.
      Mono-use areas are an increasing problem. Henry Street may be a successful retail street but there is precious little else there. No restaurants worth the mention, limited cafes, limited bars, the market is hideous. As you say Graham, the area in front of St Mary’s Church is ideal for restaurants, although a UK tex mex chain is soon to open there – but its hardly the quality and character this little section deserves. Dame St is almost exclusively given over to bars and takeaways and tat. Very few quality businesses survive on what is the main spine of the city, the centre of the tourist city.

      We should also think of the pervasive effect of a lack of enforcement. Take the Starbucks and Costa example on Dame Street. Why should Starbuck, which provided a good quality frontage generally respectful to its very significant surroundings, feel it should play ball when next door Costa have pulled out all the bells and whistles, seemingly with impunity. In fact Costa can now be considered a serial offender since they took much the same approach to their former premises on Dawson Street. I wonder would they pull the same stunt on High St Kensignton?

      Some other areas to those you mention Graham:

      Talbot Street – a disaster area. Thankfully it retains some charm but some of the worst examples of tat are found here. Of particular interest to me has always been the row of “shops” at the corner with Gardiner Street. In fact they include the corner Georgian townhouse which has been unmercilessly hacked throughout the years. The “shops” regularly change from Polish shop to phone shop to “convenience” stores. All of the cheapest quality. Never so much as an invalidated planning application. It has been this way for YEARS! I would suggest the big ugly advertising hoardings tacked to the side of the building are also unauthorized. But why play ball when the local authority adds its own tat to the mix – see the recently installed concrete bollards at the junction with James Joyce Street which I mentioned in another thread.

      Parnell Street – its gotten worse..if that was at all possible.

      Marlborough Street – a complete disaster area but you only have to walk along it to feel the potential. Think about it: this street has a major college, the primary catholic church in the country, the national theatre, a govt department housed in one of the most attractive campuses of any department, a good deal of extant historic houses, and is 1 block back from the primary thoroughfare of the city and country.

      Camden Street – there are two more applications in the system for super bars on this street! How many more bars can possibly be accommodated. Most places I see are half empty these days – even at weekends. Many of the buildings on this street are owned by a small number of “developers”. I dont think quality is in their dictionary.

      And the last one to leave you with is a recent favourite of mine: the former XL convenience store on Parliament Street. XL got in there, defiled the shop front with a half finished lurid green paint job and a host of unauthorized signage, and went out of business after about 5 months. The ugly shop front remains as a reminder.

    • #776207
      gunter
      Participant

      Maybe there’s a design challenge to be met here.

      Commercial premises hunger for impact signage, but you’ll never get planning permission [except by mistake] for anything except low-impact signage.

      Maybe we need to look at ways of designing signage that has more impact, but is less destructive of the streetscape than the current Logo driven signage.

      Lettering itself is surprisingly undestructive of streetscape, even though these examples on 1950s Bachelors Walk probably amount to 100% more actual square footage of signboard than you’d see on the average Centra . . . . . . .

      OK, maybe not Centra

    • #776208
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Mono-use areas are an increasing problem. Henry Street may be a successful retail street but there is precious little else there. No restaurants worth the mention, limited cafes, limited bars,

      Without going too far off topic you need to be minful of the concept of bid rent ability in terms of assembling a high quality retial environment, few cafe operators can make money off €400-€600 zone A rents, you just can’t sell enough product; any destination needs a large element of non comparison retail offer to sustain shoppers for a number of hours whilst their wallets are drained between snacks. Taking the Henry Street / Mary Street axis you want the stretch from OCS to Jervis Street pretty much reserved for comparison retail; where the concept falls down is that Liffey Street is full of budget retailers and not cafe’s, Moore Street is ecclectic and not servile to its position in the retail hierarchy, the GPO arcade is niche retail versus a food offer and the Ilac Centre has not capitalised on the potential to create a good food offer.

      Basically the City Council, landlords reps and Retail Lobby need to sit down and move beyond the ‘you can’t do that there planning modelunless you flout the rules model and guess what we commit a lot of resources to making the rules but we have no one to enforce them’ What it required is a change of mindset to one where stakeholders actively plan inserting the type of uses that will sustain Dublin City Centre as a viable retail destination. Legislation around lease expiries to enable non-core uses for landlords to have the ability to see tenancy agreements terminated on expiry of the existing term would be a very good start.

      On signage with most of the examples cited on this thread as an occupier you would not get away with it in any credible retail destination I am familier with……

    • #776209
      urbanisto
      Participant

      I agree that its complicated. Planning policy for the street (the sort thats implemented) also plays a part by designating retail the primary use at ground floor level. I haven’t looked too much into it but I wonder why greater use isnt made of upper floors not given over to retail. Also the proximity of streets such as Liffey St and Mary Street makes it all the more puzzling that restaurants aren’t accommodated here.

      I think your point about stakeholders actively manage the street is spot on. This need to start happening. It has been encouraged in a recent report to DCBA for Capel Street. Unless stakeholder pull together then the slide will just continue, creating issues which they wont even have foreseen and ultimately damaging the attractiveness of the street.

    • #776210
      Anonymous
      Participant

      I have always been a great fan of the DCBA who seem to be able to reach a level of urbanism that is sadly missing from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and they can I feel represent retail as a body. What is missing in Ireland is a credible property association to represent landlords who depend more than ever now on getting the urban environment product right given that positive economic tailwinds have become significant headwinds in recent years; all stakeholders including Dublin City Council, DCBA and either NAMA or IPUT should meet up and ensure a smooth transition; with a few schemes on the sidelines being built Dublin can become a very credible retail desitnation; however stagnation whilst these schemes raise funding is in no-ones interest.

      An unregulated market leads to the lowest common denominator, supermarkets with dumpt displays of steriods.Great to see A & F coming to College Green, can you see Hollister going to Westmoreland Street?

    • #776211
      urbanisto
      Participant

      @GrahamH wrote:

      Aha – Stephen’s eyes have been assaulted by the new Polish supermarket opposite St. Mary’s Church! Did ya ever see the like in all your days? Any other European city and this would be a quaint historic church surrounded by a civic square, little cafés and provisions shops and a daily on-street flower market. Here, we get a redundant roadway – newly paved specifically to make it more redundant – an industrially-railed off church curtilage crowded with commercial tat, a Polish supermarket straddling at least two historic properties forming the setting with newly mauled upper facades, and a fascia board ya can see from outer space!

      Interestingly, now that the work is done, the owner feels it necessary to apply for retention permission 4095/10, decision pending. Observations can be made to 18th January.

      A quick read of the application states: “the bi-chromatic colour scheme does not depart from the Development Plan Standards and adjacent colour schemes” and “portions of glazing are left clear to provide interaction in accordance with the Development Plan and O’Connell Street Shopfront Design Guidelines 2001”. So the shopfront designers are at least aware of the Shopfront Guidelines and appear to indicate that they have consulted them prior to designing the fascia.

      Just of interest, the developer says they comply with the Development Plan Standards whcih apply. I assume they mean the new Development Plan 2011 – 2017 which comes into effect tomorrow and which will be used to assess this application. Section 17.25.3 of the Plan, entitled Signs of Shopfronts and Other Business Premuses states:

      The signage relating to any commercial ground floor use should be contained within the fascia board of the shopfront. The lettering employed should be either on the fascia, or consist of individually mounted solid letters mounted on the fascia. The size of the lettering used should be in proportion to the depth of the fascia board.
      Signage internal to the premises, including interior suspended advertising panels, which obscures views into the shop or business and creates dead frontage onto the street shall not normally be permitted.
      Corporate signs will only be permitted where they are compatible with the character of the building, its materials and colour scheme and those of adjoining buildings.
      Advertisements and signs relating to uses above ground floor level should generally be provided at the entrance to the upper floors, in a form and design which does not detract from or impinge upon the integrity of the ground floor shopfronts, or other elevational features of the building
      Shopfronts sponsored by commercial brands will generally not be permitted
      Proposals for signage shall have regard to Dublin City Council’s Shopfront Design Guide, 2001 and the O’Connell Street Area Shopfront Design Guidelines, 2003, where appropriate
      All proposals for shopfronts shall have regard to the guidelines for illuminated signs as set out in Appendix 25 of this plan

      Hmm, judge for yourself.

      I don’t mean to pick on this one particular premises. At the end of the days its welcome to see a new shop at this location, and its welcome to see the building renovated. However, we should aspire to a little more quality on such a prominent street. Why should John Keating, the previous owner and developer of St Mary’s Church opposite have to jump through the hoops to achieve the restoration of the building while next door gets away with the such a poor quality shopfront which in turn detracts form the church. Its very frustrating.

      I feel that the issue of “ethnic shops” has been continually ignored by both the wider business community and the City Council for a long time now. Capel Street offers another view of the often chaotic nature of the shopfronts of ethnic stores. A few new shops have opened in recent months which leave very little to be desired. Ethnic shops are great – a very welcome addition to the diversity of streets, particularly the secondary streets. However they need to be engaged so that the quality of these streets is retained. Thats certainly not happening at the moment.

    • #776212
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Here’s a snap of the less than desireous shopfront on Mary Street. A prime pitch on the city’s premier retail street should be aspiring to a lot better than this. The window transfers seem to be obligatory.

    • #776213
      urbanisto
      Participant

      A couple more shops in the area making zero effort to fit in

      This parade on Talbot Street has been a mess since as long as I can remember. Shops just change hands, planning is non-existent, the adjoining Georgian townhouse has been butchered and disfigured repeatedly.

      Further along Talbot Street, towards the junction with Marlborough

      On North Earl Street, again a prime pitch…or at least what should be a prime pitch.

    • #776214
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Capel Street is an ACA since January 2009 but that hasnt stopped the creep of poor quality and garish shopfronts.

      The Planning Authority seems curiously reticent about engaging with ethnic businesses to encourage them to develop more sensitively. Given that the new Development Plan talks about encouraging ethnic quarters on streets like Capel Street then something has to change, otherwise the character and quality of the street will be harmed.

      This property has applied for planning permission for a new shopfront (and went ahead and developed before the decision). The application makes no mention of the upper floors! The application is out to FI requesting revisions to ensure the building is improved and repaired.

    • #776215
      urbanisto
      Participant

      And then of course this beauty on the prominent corner of Parliament Street. The shop has now closed. I am unaware if planning enforcement got involved.

      A smarter outcome for this property further along the quay, part of the Clarence site. The shops were recently renovated and some have reopened, including this The Workman’s Club. The brickwork was cleaned of layers of paint and smartened up. Perhaps they can move a few doors up and undo the damage.

    • #776216
      urbanisto
      Participant

      What a shame to see two good quality stalwarts of Dame Street shut their doors in the past couple of weeks. Toni & Guy closed last week, after a good quality refurbishment of their premises towards the end of last year, while The Mermaid and neighbouring Gruel (so beloved of DCC planners and heritage/conservation intelligensia 🙂 ) closed before Christmas. Mermaid occupies one of the most high profile buildings on the street, albeit one in need of a painting. Its seems the high rents demanded of its owner weren’t directed towards the upkeep of the place.

      An article on the reasons for the Mermaid’s closure in the Irish Times today:

      “Mark Harrell, owner of the now defunct Mermaid Cafe and Gruel restaurants, has said: “It will be the small, interesting restaurants that go. It’s not going to be the Starbucks and the McDonald’s. But then what’s left? Where’s the interest? Where’s the joy?”

      Mermaid Cafe owner criticises rent practices
      LAURA SLATTERY

      THE OWNERS of the defunct Mermaid Cafe and Gruel restaurants in Dublin have hit out at the “short-sighted” behaviour of landlords, which they say will force many city traders out of business and ruin the character of the capital.

      Mark Harrell and Ben Gorman, who first opened the Mermaid Cafe on Dame Street in 1996, said the principal reason for the closure of the two restaurants was “the intransigence of landlords who still demand boom-time rents with their upward-only review mechanisms still in place”.

      The award-winning Mermaid and its more casual sister restaurant Gruel ceased trading on December 23rd, having managed to secure only a “tiny” reduction in rent from its landlady. The company behind them is now in liquidation, with the loss of 30 jobs. Mr Harrell said “part of the fabric of Temple Bar” was now gone.

      “I fear for Dublin if this is the way the culture is going to go. It will just become temporary traders and boarded-up shops,” Mr Harrell said.

      It will be “a very busy year” for restaurant closures in the city, he predicted, with levels of custom during January and February – traditionally quiet for the industry – likely to force several traders out.

      “It will be the small, interesting restaurants that go. It’s not going to be the Starbucks and the McDonald’s. But then what’s left? Where’s the interest? Where’s the joy?”

      The combined rent on the two restaurants at 68 and 69 Dame Street was €190,000. When Mr Harrell and Mr Gorman opened the Mermaid, at number 69, in 1996, the rent was £15,000.

      At their peak, the restaurants employed 45 people. The owners cut back to a core group of 30 after the slowdown in consumer spending led to an initial drop of business of 25 per cent. At one point, trade was down 40 per cent.

      The restaurants were also affected by a lack of custom during the snowy weather at the start of 2010 and the lack of visitors to Dublin in April 2010 when flights were suspended due to volcanic dust. Extreme weather conditions before Christmas saw a further dramatic fall-off in trade.

      Although this was the “final nail”, the main reason for the closures was the failure of the rent negotiations, Mr Harrell said.

      The lease on the premises featured now-banned upward-only rent review clauses. The Government has passed legislation prohibiting these clauses in new leases but this has not helped the thousands bound by the old contracts.

      Mr Harrell is now living in Britain, while Mr Gorman is moving to Spain. Although the restaurant game was “a struggle at the best of times”, Mr Harrell said if he was “20 years younger” he would consider getting involved again. “But I certainly wouldn’t do it in Dublin.”

    • #776217
      urbanisto
      Participant

      And of course the good news:

      John Brereton buys West of Grafton Street

      DUBLIN jewellers John Brereton have bought the former West jewellers shop at 33 Grafton Street, Dublin 2 for almost €5 million. The vendor was businessman Joe Moran of housebuilders Manor Park Homes.

      West of Grafton Street was one of the longest established firms in the State. It originally opened in Capel Street in 1720, relocated to College Green in 1845, later to 102 Grafton Street where River Island now trades and in 1965 it opened in its current premises at the junction of Grafton Street and South Anne Street.

      The four-storey over basement building is in need of considerable upgrading. It has an overall floor area of 194sq m (2,088sq ft) including 55sq m (535sq ft) on the ground floor. The new owners plan to use three floors as retail space possibly including the first floor area of 33.2sq m (360sq ft) and the basement which extends to 35.3sq m (380sq ft).

      John Brereton Jewellers also has a long tradition of trading in Dublin having been set up in Capel Street in 1916. It also has shops in O’Connell Street and Chatham Street. Lisa McGrane of Jones Lang LaSalle handled the sale.

      Good to see an indigenous name on Grafton Street. Shame to lose that lurid green though.

    • #776218
      Devin
      Participant

      It’s grim what’s happening on Dame Street. Gruel & Mermaid go but Rick’s burgers, Iskander’s kebabs, Eddie R, Abrak, Charlie’s fast food et al all stay.

      @StephenC wrote:

      No permission sought for COU of this cafe to fast-food take-away, in the Capel ACA. Complaint was lodged last August. Is DCC’s Planning Enforcement dept. working? ……. you tell me.

    • #776219
      Devin
      Participant

      @StephenC wrote:

      Here’s a snap of the less than desireous shopfront on Mary Street. A prime pitch on the city’s premier retail street should be aspiring to a lot better than this. The window transfers seem to be obligatory.

      The catalyst for the Polish fascia was the Spar on the corner: Because DCC Planning Enforcement did not take action on its new shopfront & signage when erected in 2006* – and because they did not take action again when Gourmet2Go installed the same signs as Spar except bigger & of higher impact in 2010 – the message went out that low standards are permissible beside the historic city church, so Polonez follow.

      *New s/fronts & signage are not exempt. They require permission.

    • #776220
      Anonymous
      Participant

      An Taisce accuses council of ‘reckless neglect’ of city centre

      An Taisce submission to Dublin City Council over “cheap garish signage” highlights a number of premises in the capital’s historic core including Charlie’s 3 Chinese takeawayIn this section »
      Elderly man at centre of shooting incident in which man in 20s injuredVolumes of waste fell by 8% in 2009, report showsHSE plan to cut queues for acute patientsOLIVIA KELLY

      THE HISTORIC core of Dublin city is becoming a blackspot of “cheap garish signage” and “lower-order shops” because of Dublin City Council’s failure to enforce planning laws, An Taisce has said.

      The national heritage trust has lodged a complaint with the council which it said was guilty of “reckless neglect” of the city centre by not taking action against unauthorised shopfronts and signage, and in some cases allowing businesses to operate for years without planning permission.

      Businesses had erected without permission signs which clearly did not comply with city council regulations for shop fronts, yet the council had not ordered their removal, An Taisce said. However, in a number of cases the council had refused permission for signs but businesses had not removed them, yet they were not being pursued by the council.

      Poor quality shopfronts was an increasing problem city-wide, An Taisce said, but was most pronounced in the historic core on streets of major civic and architectural importance.

      “The main thoroughfares immediately south of the Liffey – Westmoreland Street, Dame Street, Parliament Street and the South Quays – are becoming a blackspot of lower-order shops and fast-food restaurants with cheap, garish shopfronts and signage,” the submission said.

      The recession was creating a big increase in closure and vacancy rates, and a proliferation of discount shops. In this environment, increased vigilance was needed to uphold standards and prevent major deterioration in streets, An Taisce said. “Instead, there seems to be no planning enforcement in operation at all.”

      Westmoreland Street had seen the most severe deterioration of any city-centre street in recent years, in the wake of the closure of Bewley’s in 2004, it said. The west side of the street had “descended into an appalling collection of low-order shops competing with each other for signage clutter, while there were significant stretches of dead frontage on the east side”.

      It highlighted a number of premises on Westmoreland Street breaking shopfront regulations including Supermac’s, which had been refused permission for certain signage and alterations made to the shopfront in October 2009 and Charlie’s 3 Chinese takeaway, which had been refused permission for its shopfront and to operate as a fast-food restaurant in 2005, yet remained open.

      Managing director of Supermac’s, Pat McDonagh, said the signs referred to by An Taisce were temporary and Supermac’s was in the process of applying to the council for permanent projecting signs needed to attract customers. “An Taisce musn’t know there’s a recession – without these signs, which are less garish and more delicate than the flat signs, people could walk by and not even know we’re there.”

      The owner of Charlie’s 3 was not available yesterday.

      Among the premises An Taisce highlighted on Dame Street was a Spar shop which had in September 2009 been refused permission to retain certain aspects of its front window design but which remained in place. In a statement the company said it took its responsibilities in relation to planning very seriously and worked closely with the authorities in relation to its stores.

      Parliament Street had started to “go downhill” in the last 18 months, An Taisce said. One fastfood restaurant, Mezza, had been ordered by the council to remove its illuminated signs by August 2010 but had not done so. Owner Eileen Monaghan yesterday said she had received no such notification from the council and was unaware of any complaints.

      The council said the submission from An Taisce would be investigated and “where appropriate enforcement action will be taken”.

      http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0208/1224289258966.html

      The thing is Pat, your competitors think big and go with cool urban modern design;

      http://www.chictip.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Picture-71.png

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/santivalladolid/3855478039/in/pool-mcstores

      fast food is not only recession proof if priced right it is a giffen good just look at the shareprice graph for Micky D’s http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=MCD+Interactive#symbol=MCD;range=5y

      DCC need to look at enforcement as a revenue raising tool; there must be a way to use the by-laws to issue enforcement notices, levy fines directly and get a credit collection oriented legal practice to collect.

    • #776221
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Well done An Taisce! once again highlighting the appalling sham that is local government in the city and the terrible venality of some of the merchant class who just cant see the bigger picture beyond their own crappy, PVC-clad, flood-lit, poster-plastered patches.

    • #776222
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Absolutely – this was a comprehensive and much needed 30-something page document to the Council listing all the old favourites in the increasingly commonplace field of unauthorised development. The principal commercial streets of the city centre have been descending into a tawdry parade of tat in recent years, with a disconcerting feeling across the board of nobody being in control. This is a timely and very well detailed submission with no wriggle room.

      What is particularly galling is the extent to which brand new retail developments, on paper executed according to exacting and ‘world class’ shopfront guideline plans, are in reality presented in an entirely different manner. It’s hilarious how retail outlets, forced to spend considerable sums on well detailed capital works through aspirant planning policies, seek as much as possible to negate the impact of their own costly investment.

      In this respect, I would also have included the breaching of ACA and SPCS polices in relation to the new Londis and associated café on O’Connell Street regarding postering, shelving against windows and stands out on the street. The various units at the lower end of Grafton Street could also be included, one of whch has had ‘temporary signage’ erected in the past fortnight, but in all honesty where do you draw the line? The message was well and truly sent, including the critical issue of better resourcing of the Enforcement Department, which I believe now has only six enforcement officers for the entire city. Take account of complaints over domestic extensions, boundary wall disputes and large commercial and residential developments, and one gets a very real sense of the resources available to the city centre.

    • #776223
      Anonymous
      Participant

      The temporary signage issue is really quite bizarre; you can understand a Christmas trader taking a unit for 6 weeks not wanting to spend a lot of money on signage given the depreciation ratio per trading day. But how many of these stores are on short term tenancies?

      The bye-laws need to be altered to remove the capacity for any temporary signage on tenancies where the term is more than 8 weeks; it is a complete disgrace that busineses confident enough in a location to sign a ten or even five year lease can put up ‘temporary signs’ what are the legal costs of negotiating a lease, €5,000? €10,000? Cost of a proper sign, €3,000? €5,000?

    • #776224
      Devin
      Participant

      You can open a copy of the shopfront submission from the An Taisce website – http://www.antaisce.org (second item down)

    • #776225
      Devin
      Participant
    • #776226
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      Well done to AnT

    • #776227
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I think it needs more than a naysayers charter to properly regulate the signage.
      Businesses need to be able to advertise their wares and the planning laws regulate this.

      The problem shown by An Taisce is that existing planning laws and decisions seem to be ignored.
      Whey then are they not using Section 160 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 to take legal action?

      My thinkfully limited experience of this Section is that if action is initiated by the public the Council will weigh in.
      O’Connell street’s restaurants and fast food outlet’s have always had a seedy air of grandeur since the old Sunflower days.

      A consistent and rigorous approach to advertising, lighting andsignage needs to be urgently imposed to prevent futher dacay.
      Otherwise we’ll end up with a capital city that looks like some sad version of Peterborough – and let’s face it, that’d be depressing.

      ONQ.

    • #776228
      gunter
      Participant

      Everything An Taisce said is probably true, but unfortunately there always seems to be a faint – there goes the neighbourhood – tone to An Taisce pronouncements, however well intentioned, especially when they’re accompanied by clearly disdainful references to ‘lower-order shops’ and ‘cheap garish signage’ etc. etc.

      The decline in the standard of streetscape presentation and the poor quality of public realm in general are huge issues for Dublin, but we also need to acknowledge that traders are actually the lifeblood of the city and ‘up-market’ will only ever be a part of the trading spectrum. I mean straight away there’s going to be a disconnect with your target market if your shop-front presentation is polite and restrained and you’re business is selling burgers and chips for 3.99 . . . . not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      The manager of Supermac’s made a reasonable point about his unauthorised projecting signs: ‘. . . without these signs, which are less garish and more delicate than the flat signs, people could walk by and not even know we’re there.’

      I think we need a planning policy that recognises the reality that some businesses are dependant on a high-volume, transient, market and these business are probably also dependant, to some extent, on having high-impact signage, or else they risk going bust.

      As I’ve said before on this topic, I think this presents a design challenge that the design community hasn’t risen to yet.

      Other businesses clearly don’t come into this category and are just taking the piss.

    • #776229
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I think we can be too precious about our architecture.
      Some of its deserved, some of it isn’t, but signage is a perennial bugbear.
      Someone should post the old “ideal” perspective of Sackville Street and measure how its changed.

      It will change again – and colour, flags, lighting – in fact almost any form of ceremony around buildings causes difficulty.
      If An Taisce only looked back without the rose tinted glasses to Classical times, whence Many of O’Connell Street’s references arise.
      They’d see a culture that celebrated all kinds of enjoyment using their buildings that might perhaps offer several solutions to the current visual mess.

      Just a thought.

      ONQ.

    • #776230
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Onq you miss the point on this; as someone who works in retail real estate I can say that there is no way you can ignore the design quality of a specific street in terms of which streets are successful and which aren’t; particularly on secondary pitches.

      There is no way that any landlord if these streets were shopping centres would allow any of the signs highlighted in this report. Shops become vacant eithert through insolvency or retailers simply not renewing leases; then the focus goes to filling the space, 90% of leasing decisions are made on receipt of the brochure, could you presaude a retailer that has no presence in Dublin to book a flight on spec to consider a store opening in a shop immediately adjoining any of the shopfronts highlighted in this report; conversely if the opportunity offered is a shop displayed by a well taken photo with a clean shopfront such as BTs or Karen Millen or McDonalds adjoining, then that agent presents the opportunity with the prospective tenants signage phot0shopped in, would you rather present Polskadeli or Karen Millen. Go figure….

      What makes the situation even more tragic is that through empty property rating relief the councils own lack of signage enforcement is actually costing them money as retailers are deterred from taking space. Dublin needs to have a superior urban environment as there is no cost advantage and domestic consumption although begining to stabalise needs tourist revenues to become bouyant again.

    • #776231
      GrahamH
      Participant

      I broadly agree. I think it is too easy to row back on current ‘thinking’ regarding shopfronts for fear of over-regulation, as is fashionable at the minute in a number of spheres. It is not that regulation has not worked, or that guidelines are too onerous – rather the model has not proven to work yet.

      I agree some businesses need high impact on the streetscape, but very simply you choose your pitch according to your requirements. What on earth are Supermac’s doing in a Protected Structure featuring a deeply modelled ground floor facade, a narrow street frontage, with limited scope for signage on a fully fitted Victorian shopfront? Simply put, they shouldn’t be there. It doesn’t suit their needs. By contrast, their O’Connell Street outlet has considerable streetscape impact by virtue of its prominent corner location and expansive glazing. Problem solved. The interior on Westmoreland Street doesn’t suit them either – long and narrow, with limited scope for seating, a cramped staircase catering for a high volume of patrons, and a soaring high ceiling that neither matches their image nor their business model – paying for airspace rather than floorspace. Westmoreland Street should not have to suffer the loss of a prestigious retail unit nor quality streetscape for what is a bad business decision.

      The other aspect to bear in mind is that if everyone is on the same playing pitch, the competitive streak is negated and the whole urban environment becomes more sedate. In this respect, clever design gives retailers a competitive edge rather than who can shout the loudest. Likewise, redesign of the public realm is a critical component in changing how shops interact with the passing pedestrian. In the case of Westmoreland Street and Dame Street, pavements are so narrow and congested that shops cannot even be seen. Is it any wonder retailers jostle for attention in the loudest manner possible.

    • #776232
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Supermacs took the former Beshoffs on the basis of the retail being zoned grease; they are limited in the premises they can take due to the policies in the development plan limiting proliferation of take away establishments; what may be appropriate is to take the same approach to take aways as pubs and make them licensed and allow the licenses to be transferred; that way a change of use application from the late 1980’s could be reversed and Supermacs get a unit that is better suited to their needs.

      I agree on a level of balance, but to be fair to the reports authors every one of the signs highlighted are so inappropriate as to render balance an inappropriate word in the same sentance. I highlight the McDonalds signage as it is far from classical, far from invisible but it is successfully applied in so many diverse locations. If an international retailer can get it right; why can’t a local operator who should be nimbler in planning matters.

      I take your point on the footpaths; but only by significantly reducing the level of buses will the specific pedestrian experience improve at this location; if Luas were run down here and buses relocated this would go back to the Wide Streets Commissioners vision of the grand boulevard.

      It really is a pity the way signage is done at this location on the borders of the most frequented tourist zone in the City.

    • #776233
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Interesting to note (and weird of me to notice, I know!) that Costa have removed the flag banners and protecting signage from their unit on College Green. And that the Thai restaurant on Westmoreland Street has removed its unauthorized projecting signage. And that the unauthorized Chinese restaurant at 76 Dame Street has now applied for retention change of use. Interesting that…

    • #776234
      urbanisto
      Participant

      :wave: double post removed

    • #776235
      Anonymous
      Participant

      double sized sign removed

      To be welcomed, the finishes maketh the City in visual terms…..

    • #776236
      urbanisto
      Participant

      @StephenC wrote:

      Here’s a snap of the less than desireous shopfront on Mary Street. A prime pitch on the city’s premier retail street should be aspiring to a lot better than this. The window transfers seem to be obligatory.

      Retention permission for this shopfront refused by DCC:

      1. The shopfront, by virtue of the provision of substandard design, a horizontally emphasised appearance that does not relate to the existing architectural context of the building in terms of building line, the provision of substandard materials in the form of plywood fascia board and plasticated lettering, the provision of external downlighters, the provision of opaque/patterned screens to the main windows and the provision of external roller shutters is contrary to the Shopfront Design Guide and the Shop Front Design Guidelines for the O’Connell Street Area and to Sections 17.25.2 and 17.25.3 and Policy RD7 of the Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017. The development has a seriously injurious impact on the character and setting of a protected structure and on visual amenity of the immediate conservation area and protected structures and would depreciate the value of property in the vicinity. Consequently, it would set an adverse precedent for similarly substandard development, is contrary to the provisions of the Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017 and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

    • #776237
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Everyone’s favourite convenience store on Wellington Quay has undergone a facelift (of the Jackie Stallone variety?)

      Yeawh! Jwackie!

      Where’s young Devin?

      All permitted and above board? Not quite. Here’s an excerpt from the Planner Report…

      Planning Assessment:
      The proposal is for works to both shopfronts of the Centre located in Temple Bar and which stretches out onto Wellington Quay. With regards the proposal for Temple Bar it is considered that the removal of the iron gates which presently are used for advertising is considered to be acceptable and that these are not part of the historic fabric of the building and therefore it is considered reasonable that they are removed. The siting of two display cases on either of the door is not considered to be acceptable and it will be condition that they be omitted from the development.

      The applicants propose to site signage on the red brick archway, which is to be made of bronze built up letters backlit with fixing pins in mortar joints cap. It is proposed to have the archway fitted with simi-circular translucent opal glass panel with aluminium frame. The design is considered to be simple and will not detract from the character of the protected
      structure.

      The Wellington Quay side of the proposed removes the existing timber shopfront and instead sites the centra sign in aluminium which is backlit and to have it directly attached to the wall. Over the sign then is a glazed canopy on powder coated steel tees anchored to the masonry wall. It is to project 0.5m from the wall and is composed for 5 panels. The new
      shopfront is to consist of a steel frame which is to be powdercoated in white to match the Ha’penny bridge. A grey polished granite plinth is proposed which is .25m high.

      The following sections of the Dublin Corporation Planning Dept Shopfront Design Guide 2001 apply:
      Page 19 item 1 identifies the necessity for a strongly defined framework ,
      Page 20, section 1 – Fascia
      • “Normally, fascia depth should not exceed a quarter of the distance between the fascia’s lower edge and the pavement.”
      Page 23, section 1 – Fascia Signs
      • “Letter design should be simple and legible. The dimensions of the fascia should dictate the size and height of the letters. Letters of more than 40cm will not normally be acceptable.”
      Page 30, section 9 – Illumination of Shopfronts
       “ External illumination of the shopfront should only be considered where the lighting can be subtly concealed by feature details of the building.”

      The proposal as it stands with regards the Wellington Quay shopfront has a strong defined framework in the non traditional sense and the letters are individually mounted. The lighting of the shopfront is also considered as proposed to be acceptable.

      Reasons and Considerations
      Having regard to the nature and scale of the proposed works it is considered that they would not seriously injure the residential amenities of the area (eh? :eh: )and would not adversely affect the character and setting of the protected structure and subject to compliance with the conditions set out below it is considered that the proposed development accords with both
      the City Development Plan and the proper planning and sustainable development of the

      Sorry, a lot of guff there but you see the rationale. So bronze and aluminium lettering. Hmm I see yellow plastic. Also the permission included a very illuminating condition “The finishes of both shops fronts shall be of high quality” Great, except thats not defined.

      I wont make a mountain here…maybe its alright, inoffensive, stylish, smart and contemporary. I dunno. Its not what they said they would do though. And how long till the banners, stickers, posters and neon tickertap arrives to add to the gaiety of the proceedings.

      Meanwhile, next door, Merchants Arch, which had made a great stab at renovating the building into a pub, plonks three large flagpoles in front of their building. Why! Don’t they realise that visitors photograph this spot hundreds of times a day! I dont get it.

    • #776240
      Devin
      Participant

      Stephen, this is what got permission at the Wellington Quay facade. Repainting of the facade a terracotta colour ‘to re-establish the redbrick colour of the riverfront’ – fine. And aluminium lettering in a pale colour with caps measuring 350mm and lower case 300mm. See architect Cathal O’Neill’s statement below.

      But, the usual convenience store scenario – you get permission for one thing then do something else, in a city with no planning enforcement. As if Dublin needed another yellow building … with canary yellow sign lettering, much bigger than the permitted size.

    • #776239
      davidarthurs
      Participant

      The wrath of the so called ‘Temporary Banner’ continues – I notice a large temporary ad banner has been placed directly on top of the Stella Cinema signage in Rathmines. Looks Horrible.

    • #776238
      gunter
      Participant

      I think Wellington Quay is proof that shopfront design is now a lost art.

      . . . . notwithstanding the fact that the person who submitted that planning drawing appears to be twelve years old

    • #776241
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      For me, less is more than a bore – its a dearth of design and originality.

      Its the politically correct style-less style so believed of moderns.

      What’s really annoying is that the shopfront is the worst of stripped modernism and makes no reference to the forms and complexity that the original displayed.
      In terms of forming and expressing design in a language borders on “Ugh!”

      Kitsch acanthus leaves, scrollwork, raised and fielded panels and pilasters it may have seemed to some.
      But the relevance to the social context of the time was a known quantity.

      Whereras the slick metal and glass effort above is something a dog wouldn’t piss on.
      Just because my namesake Cathal knew Mies and worked with him doesn’t mean he can’t move on.

      ONQ.

    • #776242
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Honestly reading all that shit, for that shit and then when they get that shit permitted they build different shit!

      “The steel shopfront would be carefully detailed”…”clarify the proportions of the opening”… and best of all…

      the simple elegant facade….will raise the image of the Quay and help reverse the downward trend”.

      Shocking. So utterly cynical and shocking. Okay so its only a bloody shopfront but really to submit all that crap and KNOW that what you were going to construct would have the opposite effect. That is so cynical.

    • #776243
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      @PVC King wrote:

      Onq you miss the point on this; as someone who works in retail real estate I can say that there is no way you can ignore the design quality of a specific street in terms of which streets are successful and which aren’t; particularly on secondary pitches.

      There is no way that any landlord if these streets were shopping centres would allow any of the signs highlighted in this report. Shops become vacant eithert through insolvency or retailers simply not renewing leases; then the focus goes to filling the space, 90% of leasing decisions are made on receipt of the brochure, could you presaude a retailer that has no presence in Dublin to book a flight on spec to consider a store opening in a shop immediately adjoining any of the shopfronts highlighted in this report; conversely if the opportunity offered is a shop displayed by a well taken photo with a clean shopfront such as BTs or Karen Millen or McDonalds adjoining, then that agent presents the opportunity with the prospective tenants signage phot0shopped in, would you rather present Polskadeli or Karen Millen. Go figure….

      What makes the situation even more tragic is that through empty property rating relief the councils own lack of signage enforcement is actually costing them money as retailers are deterred from taking space. Dublin needs to have a superior urban environment as there is no cost advantage and domestic consumption although begining to stabalise needs tourist revenues to become bouyant again.

      Thanks but as someone who has specialsied in designing commercial buildings I’m not oblivious to the needs of the street or the stakeholders.

      I didn’t suggest that the design quality should be ignored at all – I said that we could learn lessons from how these matters were dealt with in the past.

      Heck we could go to Europe which had similar shopfront and se how they have handled their streetscape.
      But we don’t need to – all we need to do is make a list of the worst of it and submit it with recommendations to the LA.

      Any takers?

      In the past there were a lot of useful ideas that could look spectacular now – reinventing the shaded awning for one thing.
      Requiring a “look” to be adhered to for groups of shops for another, to return a more uniform look to each shpw and quiet down the advertising.

      Once the advertising on buildings escapes from the control of the architect or once the architect starts packaging elevations as candy wrappers, with each clashing with its neighbours, it all goes to hell in a handbasket.

      I’m a great fan of learning from the past – as opposed to sheepishly and slavishly repeating it, but those arches… aghk! Are they original?

      Dire.

      At least in the way they are currently treated.

      And the pilaster resting on nothing, neither base nor bracket?

      Who designed that elevation?

      ONQ.

    • #776244
      GrahamH
      Participant

      There is little question that Dublin city centre is falling apart at the seams in how it presents itself, and in the standard of business aspired to by the city’s merchant class. The quality of product on offer to citizens and visitors, both in terms of cultural and leisure experience and retail and service provision, is plummeting on most of the city’s principal streets.

      In addition to all that has been charted above, a new ‘cafe/bar’ has just opened at the apex of Westmoreland and D’Olier Streets as a result of an application lodged in 2010. Rightly highlighted by An Taisce as comprising an over-intensification of large bars in this part of the city, this place in effect is a superpub, with a menu of frozen ‘foods’ that can be chucked in an industrial fryer. Truly, the gastronomic excellence demanded of this strategic corner site in the city centre. This is a drinking den with carbs on the side. As is now the norm in Dublin, they have just erected cheap, over-scaled signage across the former Manchester United store on both street elevations that in no way accords with the permitted signage. Furthermore, extraordinarily, mind-bogglingly, they have just erected a giant double-height plastic pen on D’Olier Street around the inset former shop entrance, consuming the majority of the pavement here, for use as a smoking area! You couldn’t make this stuff up. Even as I stood open-mouthed at it, two young chaps passed by commenting: “What the hell is that? That’s just weird!”. Meanwhile they currently have a licence application lodged for street furniture that, in effect, they have already erected.

      Not withstanding the ignorant, non-compliant goings-on here, the very fact business enterprise in this city both views – and is allowed – to operate such a use, complete with bouncers on the door at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, speaks volumes about the standards of urban life aspired to in Dublin. Instead of a stunning, genuine cafe or bistro or restaurant in this marvellous Victorian building with wonderfully atmospheric interior of timber-lined ceiling, cornicing and handsome detailing, directly overlooking O’Connell Bridge, it has a silly themed interior that actively seeks to conceal any indication of the quality and provenance of the premises. The level of thinking borders on primitive.

      The same is true of the recent redevelopment of the supremely elegant former Merchant’s Hall building at the Ha’penny Bridge. Instead of a high quality, never mind world class, restaurant overlooking the Liffey from a first floor dining room, a low-grade restaurant catering for British stag parties, with naff showhouse interior, 90s disco music and LED colour changing lights on the ceiling, sets up shop in on one of the city’s finest historic premises, while at ground floor level a faux Edwardian pub occupies the ground floor with completely unauthorised mezannine level, fixtures and fittings. Outside, three trashy plastic flagpoles have been erected with Guinness flags, a banner sign hangs from a first floor window, music blasts out across the river from externally mounted speakers, and further unauthorised signage is erected within Merchant’s Arch itself! Another premier asset is lost to the city. But as long as the Chamber is happy, ach shure isn’t dat all that matters.

      Directly across the Liffey, one of the Wide Street’s Commissioners houses at the entrance to O’Connell Street – arguably the most strategic (and defaced) terrace in the city – has just been painted highlighter green! The ENTIRE building! You can see it from as far away as Pearse Street, never mind outer space. The shopfront has been commandeered by a giant banner fascia and full-scale window postering advertising BUDGET ACCOMMODATION further down the quay in the Abbey Court, while every other shopfront on this critically important terrace is unauthorised. Nokia have also been getting away with the most lucrative unauthorised advertising site in the city, at the expense of the city, for nearly a year now. The Abbey Court itself was also being repainted, incedentally – bright purple – when I passed on Sunday.

      And it goes on and on. Every street in the centre now is simply out of control in relation to unauthorised retail developments, while tawdry uses of second hand bookstores, milkshake bars, takeaways and convenience stores fill ever more vacant units. Very soon things will reach a tipping point that is nigh on impossible to pull back from. It is disheartening when even the hilariously overpriced and supposedly high class Olesya’s Wine Bar on Exchequer Street has just erected an illuminated box sign, 1970s-style, three floors up on the turret of the South City Markets! It has since migrated down to first floor level, pretty much in line with the equally unauthorised galvanised steel flagpoles tacked around the strategic corner offices of ODOS Architects. Here’s hoping they kick up a fuss on both fronts – even in spite of their penchant for illuminated light boxes.

    • #776245
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      Agreed Graham… but back with that Centra – what’s with the horrible littl glass and steel (I hesitate to use the word awning) yoke over the shopfront? And it’s in the design too – what’s the architect thinking? 21st century version of Parisian metro entrances? Horrible little shopfront.

    • #776246
      urbanisto
      Participant

      @GrahamH wrote:

      The same is true of the recent redevelopment of the supremely elegant former Merchant’s Hall building at the Ha’penny Bridge…. Outside, three trashy plastic flagpoles have been erected with Guinness flags, a banner sign hangs from a first floor window, music blasts out across the river from externally mounted speakers, and further unauthorised signage is erected within Merchant’s Arch itself! Another premier asset is lost to the city. But as long as the Chamber is happy, ach shure isn’t dat all that matters.

      You should see their new “Olympia style” archway over the main entrance!

    • #776247
      GrahamH
      Participant

      Oh I saw it last evening! It’s rare enough now that something startles you in Dublin, but I nearly keeled over at this one. A giant polycarbonate porch with metal substructure tacked up over the carved fanlighted doorcase!!! Complete with grammatically incorrect lettering for good measure. Meanwhile, this same shower are also in the process of erecting crude suburban floodlights along the length of the public alleyway of Merchant’s Arch, with their cabling just slung over the stonework. These in turn will serve to highlight their newly erected plasterboard slab ceiling in the passage! This, the architectural finish to most important enclosed right of way in the city! Firenze eat your heart out.

      This isn’t gombeenism – it’s not even primitive: it’s plain caveman tactics.

      Oh and for good measure (aside from the minor issue of the entire building being gutted from top to toe over the past month), West’s of Grafton Street has had an entire side of its shopfront gouged out in the past few days.

    • #776248
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Merchant’s Hall

    • #776249
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Batchelor’s Walk

      I dunno…maybe its just me! Maybe it looks great..vibrant, dynamic, charming, classy. Maybe I shouldn’t be wearing so much black.

    • #776250
      OisinT
      Participant

      The green is hideous but I actually don’t mind the purple. If they don’t do upkeep on it (which they probably wont) it’s going to look dismal in a few years.

    • #776251
      rumpelstiltskin
      Participant

      Considering where it’s located, that entire block represents the most appalling stretch of buildings in Dublin. Is there not some way they can force the removal of that advertising? If you did that and painted those ugly building it would go some way towards making that area of Dublin seem less grotty. I think somebody in the City Council needs to stand on O’Connell Bridge and ask themselves what could be done to make this worthy of the dead centre of a capital city. Everywhere you look is grottiness and decay.

    • #776252
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Dublin’s latest shop craze appears to be Tourist Information Offices. Apart from the official offices on St Andrews Street and Upper O’Connell Street there are now unofficial offices at the corner with Henry Street (former JWT shop), Batchelors Walk (the big lurid green building) and no less than 2 side by side at College Green/Lwr Grafton Street.

    • #776253
      Punchbowl
      Participant

      Are they officialy sanctioned? I see Dublin Bus selling tours in them anyway

    • #776254
      Morlan
      Participant

      Is this still here? (Saint Andrew’s St.)

    • #776255
      Cathal Dunne
      Participant

      One of the central reasons for this lurid profusion of tackiness is the failure of DCC to create a code of practice for street signage and shop frontage and enforce it with hefty fines for offenders and writs to have offensive and gaudy signage removed within a month. Given the shortage of funds in the DCC this strategy would reap a significant short-term windfall for the DCC which could then be used to fix the many pot-holes, worn road markings and eroded ramps in the city which are a menace to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. The roadworks would also create a good few jobs too.

    • #776256
      davidarthurs
      Participant

      I was cycling a long ring route from Dorset street to Drumcondra taking photos recently – and it is interesting the way the main area of eyesore today in Dublin do center around the grouping of shopfronts – typically the newsagent, fast food joint, cleaners etc., and mainly because of the incredibly tacky generic signage, and now the proliferation of illegal banners as well, and mainly it has to be said by the brand named stores, as opposed to shops with character – like say Frank’s off Dorset street and a few others.

      I say this in contrast with the attitude of earlier generations when one was attracted to the shops, not repelled by them, and the signage was carefully considered to the environment, as opposed to being a generic garish color for wherever – the priority being maintaining the brand. Also the designers of these shopfronts it should be noted seem to follow no particular tradition of shopfront design, or either care or know about what it is they are designing. It begs the questions – where are all the shopfront designers? Did they all just die out? why? surely there was always a demand for decent shopfronts. And where exactly are they all coming from now. Educate the shopfront designers and solve the problem?

    • #776261
      Anonymous
      Participant

      Shocking photo. I’d have that shop re-rated by the VO to take account of the value of the outdoor advertising…..

    • #776260
      Paul cuddy
      Participant

      flippen heck, I am speechless

    • #776257
      Punchbowl
      Participant

      I like Franks. It’s a very urban decay sort of shop front, and (literally) it brings colour. Certainly perfer it to most of the screen-printed signs around town currently.

    • #776258
      gunter
      Participant

      It does have some almost souk qualities and it is an antidote of sorts to the bland corporate sameness of SPAR et al.
      Great photograph.

    • #776259
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Fast food is quickly becoming the only show in town for many streets…

      http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0810/nandos.html

      That and Tourist Offices (as mentioned before)

    • #776262
      urbanisto
      Participant

      At last someone is feeling the heat

      http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0820/1224302759665.html

      What the paper doesn’t say is that all of these new Tourist Offices are without planning permission. At least for their shopfronts. All 5 from O’Connell Street to Grafton Street are within ACAs and yet not one applied for permission to replace their frontage or to add their clutter of signs, banners and stickers. In some cases the units are within protected structures…again a requirement to gain planning permission.

      Im not exercised enough to trawl through the ACA policies. Cant imagine they would be of help anyhow.

    • #776263
      lostexpectation
      Participant

      Winner Irish Times of postcard of modern Ireland competition

      http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/features/2011/0829/1224303142283.html

      so do we like

    • #776264
      urbanisto
      Participant

      I think it says it all…brilliant

    • #776265
      exene1
      Participant

      @StephenC wrote:

      Fast food is quickly becoming the only show in town for many streets…

      And gaming / amusement arcades.

      The old Smallmans plumbing store down the lane Bachelors Way has an application for an amusement centre – reference 2579/11 – as does no. 154 Capel Street, 3093/11.

      DCC refused another one at 108 Parnell Street after numerous local objections to it – 2794/11

    • #776266
      urbanisto
      Participant

      …although it opened anyhow

    • #776267
      thebig C
      Participant

      I don’t know if anybody has noticed, but, somebody has “refurbished” on of the Victorian/Edwardian buildings on Benburb St by painting the brickwork on the ground floor a lurid police siren blue!

    • #776268
      urbanisto
      Participant

      “Class” abounds in Dublin’s Fair City

    • #776269