In 2014, Burwell Associates was hired by American-based boutique branding and publishing firm The Idea Boutique to plan the design and furnishing of their small international satellite office, located in the rural Irish town of Clifden, and to oversee the construction administration of the approximately 380-square-foot space.
The office’s location in the pastoral region of Connemara carried a particular importance because of the client’s proud Irish heritage and familial ties to the area. Also, the image of the new office needed to be commensurate with the client’s entrée into the international and European business markets, a milestone for the firm. Having limited access to such a remote location overseas presented significant challenges for the project architect—but nothing that couldn’t be overcome with some ingenuity.
Photos of the intended office space were requested; from these, room dimensions could be estimated to an accuracy of within a few inches. Within a few weeks’ time, Burwell Associates designed and sourced building finishes, lighting, and furnishings—all of which were identified, ordered, and shipped to location using the internet. The project architect traveled to location to oversee construction administration and the project was 90 percent complete within a one-month period. The punch list of remaining minor loose ends was coordinated by the company’s on-site staff.
Project design summary: The project architect was able to take a very nondescript space and transform it into a gem of an office in an extremely short period of time, on a limited budget, with limited access to resources, and with no advance access to the project site. Though quite small in area, the finished office has a light and roomy feel. The existing suspended acoustic ceiling system was retained for economy’s sake. A small accent wall and ceiling area were introduced, which greatly augmented space relationships for the office user, but at a modest expense. The office administrator’s work area is ideally located adjacent to a window, which affords north-northeast daylight and a view of the nearby church tower and, when open, invites the sounds of a babbling stream and traditional church bell chimes into the space.