Downpatrick, Co. Down
The brief was to strip out, extend and refurbish the ground floor of an existing 19th century building, to create the new retail unit. The narrow plot measured six metres wide and stretched back for 33 metres, with daylight light only available from the street frontage and a small courtyard formed at the rear. The completed project provides a showroom area, test rooms, a laboratory, lens fitting rooms and a waiting area, offices and staff rooms.
White Ink Architects designed all elements of the project including the reception desk, feature glass doors and display and storage cabinets.
"Edel McElholme’s recently converted shop premises in Market Street....are a stunning demonstration of how good architecture can be created without a substantial budget and in an uninspiring and constrained context.
The architects had only the ground floor of a small 19th century shop to work with, just six metres wide and stretching back 33 metres.....Judges from the RIBA Awards
.... the clever but discreet use of mirrors combined with the creation of display bays whose rhythm is reflected in the polished flooring and the controlled use of strong colour and lighting gives both an admirable clarity for users and drama...... The detail of the work is simple but beautifully controlled, appropriate and crafted at every level from the glass lenses set into etched glass door of the lens fitting room to the concealed vision panels in the mirror faced walls and from the etched panels to the display bay mirrors in front of which the frames seem to float as if by magic to the neat rows of mahogany fronted frame storage trays. Nothing is excessive or amiss; everything is stylish and clean. That the architect has achieved such real and apparent quality with such economy of resources is exceptional."Judges from the RIBA Awards