Until quite recently I worked weekends which meant I often missed interesting events as more often than not they were scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays when the majority of folk were off work.
So, it was a treat to be able to go, this Saturday, to the Open House Dublin tours of: the Arran St East shop and studio; and the nearby, dating from 1892, Dublin Fruit and Vegetable Market Building.
The Irish Architecture Foundation organise Open House Dublin: the event is now in its eleventh year and it’s a rip roaring success. It’s a clever concept that offers, over a weekend in October, free guided tours, of an extensive list of buildings of architectural merit, some of which are not normally open to the public.
The Arran St East stop and studio is in Dublin’s historic Markets Area. Alterations made to the building in the late 19th Century gave the facade a Victorian look which belies its earlier origin as one of a pair of early 19th century Dutch Billy houses.
Previously used by a fruit and vegetable wholesaler the building was in in a state of disrepair when Arran St East took it over. It now, thanks to a sympathetic restoration, dances with a contemporary coolness that jives well with the older elements of the building.
One of the architects involved in its transformation gave the tour. It was interesting to hear the well thought out reasoning which informed decision making and how much the areas’s rich historical antecedents influenced the refurbishment’s aesthetic. An example of the former is the efficient lean-designed around production pottery studio and of the latter the way in which the chic black steel-framed glazed screens which divided the shop from the studio echo the black wrought-iron work in the adjacent market building.
Arran St East is a craft business that retails home wears – primarily a range of clean lined hand-thrown pottery. The business is rooted in and takes inspiration from the neighbourhood. For example the colours of the pots – cabbage, potato, parsnip, lemon, pomegranate and pink grapefruit, are a nod to the different types and hues of fruit and vegetables on sale in the market building across the road from the shop.
I am a huge fan of Irish craft and I love the pottery emanating from the wheels of the makers in this studio cum shop. I already own a couple of Arran St East mugs and I couldn’t resist buying a plant pot when I was there on Saturday.
The shop is a welcome addition to Dublin’s firmament of independent shops. I am thankful that it’s a little off my well worn routes because otherwise I would be there often, much I suspect, to the detriment of my bank balance.
The Arran St East studio and shop are at 1 Little Green Street Dublin 7: the shop is open on Friday between 11 am and 5 pm and on other days by appointment. Their website is here.