During the 1930’s, following the Wall Street Crash, the lights of New York’s Coney Island gave relief from the woes of the economic depression.
Combining imaginative and vibrant imagery, with a fun atmosphere, Coney Island was exactly what people needed when the rest of the world looked grim. Taking this carefree ethos as a starting point, expert design practice Pub Design Doctor successfully applied the Coney Island experience to a tired city centre pub and in the process got a little industry recognition in the process.
The Red Hen is a public house in the heart of Limerick, which opened in mid-December 2013. The pub recently achieved the nomination stages of the Casual Dining Awards 2014, and although it didn’t win in its category it was a fantastic achievement for design practice, Pub Design Doctor.
Speaking to Premier Hospitality, Pub Design Doctor Owner, Fionuala Lennon, said:
“Although we didn’t win in our category, Best Designed Casual Dining Pub 2014, we were extremely happy to have been nominated. We were the only Irish company to be nominated. We attended the event and we love to conduct work in the UK so it was great to get our name out there at an awards ceremony like this.”
“We worked on the project for three months before it opened. The client had seen the type of work that we are known for and our philosophy and so approached us. Our vision for the project was aligned through detailed preliminary brain storming sessions and we worked great together.
“The brief for the pub was that it needed to be like a chameleon, in the sense that the client could maximise its use by providing an adaptable environment. Our client wanted it to feel like a pub but at the same time be a little different. Running throughout the design is a vintage carnival theme and our idea was to relate the design to the brightness and excitement of Coney Island. Sourcing all the eclectic objects and furniture made for a real fun project.”
The Red Hen’s name is featured in various styles and fonts throughout the pub. This identity is reiterated with turns of phrase, quotes from nursery rhymes, wittily located throughout the interior on chalkboards and on the walls.
“We believe impact has been achieved in The Red Hen by the layering of lighting, graphics, varying textures of wall finishes and an array of contemporary objects contrasting with vintage finds. Combined they project a sense of fun and intrigue.”
A painting of Richard Harris, the silver screen icon and beloved Limerickman was commissioned to be a central feature of the pub. Holding court, it triggers memories of This Sporting Life, rugby, cinema and culture.
“In the morning people go into Red Hen for a cup of coffee and a cake, whilst in the evening it becomes more like a traditional pub, with live music. The pub is split across four levels, with each level having its own unique atmosphere.”
During the daytime, a collection of recycled chattels, artefacts, antiques and objects of interest inhabit the various levels of the space, and project a comfortable, familiar atmosphere for those who come for coffee or lunch. During the evening this collection of trinkets and wonders help to capture the imagination of all who come to Red Hen for escapism.
“Since opening, the pub has continued to trade well and I believe that it is as busy now as it was at Christmas, which is great really when you consider that January and February are traditionally quieter months. It has really captured the customers’ imagination and regular comments are that they have seen nothing like it before and every time they come they see something new. The Red Hen has really taken off.”