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The brief was to provide a new Children’s Department on the third floor of the Brown Thomas flagship store on Grafton Street. The Children’s Rooms are designed as a series of rooms within the best house on the best street in Dublin. They are imbued with the spirit of great Irish houses with their elegant sophistication and beautifully crafted and decorated rooms.
The Children’s Rooms are entered from the main shop floor through a hallway, a space to pause and browse gifts set atop marble tables. A hexagonal parquet floor is the first of a series of seven unique floor patterns, one for each room. Made from thousands of oak pieces, carefully laid by hand, the parquet floor flows from room to room, allowing easy browsing of clothing, carefully displayed within bespoke dressers.
These are built by joiners from solid oak, inlaid with white corian, itself carved with a delicate pattern derived from Irish lace, giving a subtle but detailed backdrop for the children’s clothing. The walls are lined with framed openings, each housing a curated collection of clothing, attracting the curious eye. In the shoe room, the oak floor steps up and down playfully to make space for shoes of different shapes and sizes. On this wall are drawings by Nigel Peake, which reference toys and the world of children. Peake also makes a new map of Dublin, collaged from toys and elements of haberdashery such as buttons and zips.
Great care has been taken in choosing materials and in ensuring quality detailing and craftmanship are employed throughout. Unusually for a retail environment, these rooms are built to age well and to be long-lasting.
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TESTIMONIAL: “The overriding design objective, when re-locating and re-branding the Childrenswear department from BT2 to the Brown Thomas flagship store was to create the ultimate destination in Ireland for beautiful children’s ready to wear, shoes and gifting.
The new look department and brand identity for The Children’s Rooms needed to fit seamlessly within the Brown Thomas environment and reflect it’s true DNA as Ireland’s premier luxury lifestyle store. The design and lay-out had to be desirable yet practical from a customer’s point of view but it was also important that it formed the perfect backdrop for international designer childrenswear collections such as Bonpoint and Marie Chantal.
The design of the department itself was based on a Georgian House and a series of ‘rooms’ differentiated by the distinctive hard wood parquet floor. Taking inspiration from Georgian interior architraves and panelling, the colour palette also reflected that of the period. The illustrations and brand identity followed this classic old-fashioned theme with old prams and scooters re-created in a palette of antique blues, creams and pinks. The result is a luxurious department, with it’s own clear ‘Children’s Rooms’ identity, the popularity of which is reflected in the huge increase in sales and additional customers year on year.”

 

The Children’s Rooms

A new children's fashion department for Ireland's flagship department store.

Keyword: Constructed | Retail
Client: Brown Thomas Group
Year: 2010
Location: Grafton Street, Dublin 2
Collaborator: CAST architecture
Photographer: Marie Louise Halpenny
Wall Drawings: Nigel Peake