Here's a story of several storeys opening a new chapter as a landmark Limerick building has blended over two centuries of history.
Management training and consultancy company Ingenium unveiled its restoration of four storeys and a basement at 68 O’Connell Street in what is aptly named the 68 Project.
It’s involved the transformation of the space into impressive commercial offices.
This development included the creation of a new contemporary extension to the rear of the building, with a generous-sized apartment on the top floor and a recording studio in the mews.
The building is part of Limerick’s primary Georgian district, known as Newtown Pery, largely built between 1770 and 1840.
In fact, Limerick could be regarded as Munster’s Georgian capital as the city hosts the largest Georgian streets-cape in Ireland outside of Dublin, and one of the most extensive in Europe.
And from old to new, a brand-new inner-city music recording studio in the mews within 68 O’Connell Street will be a future home for young up-and-coming music artists.
But this exciting and tuneful addition won’t be giving neighbours any sleepless nights thanks to a number of inventive design features to prevent sound from escaping the studio.
Visual artists also feature on the design palette: Ingenium placed community within the frame again as it partnered with the Limerick School of Art and Design and commissioned a number of students and graduates to create a selection of art that celebrates the intertwining values of the company with the historic building.
All in all, the project has been a real journey of discovery, according to Ingenium chairperson Finola O’Donnell. Ms O’Donnell describes it as the “opportunity to create something unique where we can celebrate Georgian living today as part of the Limerick’s inner-city rejuvenation.
"Our minds were opened when we explored the opportunities for connecting old and new, bringing the past into the modern era and blending contemporary business living with over 200 years of history.”
Architects David Leahy from DHL Architects and David Averill from Sheehan Barry fully understood the challenging task of how to incorporate the combination of complementing the new and respecting the preservation of the old, said the Ingenium chairperson.
Also key to the revamp were Mark Quinn and David Ducie, from the main contractor, QCon, and design touches by interior designer Jennifer Gabbett, alongside many other specialists who helped to guide the project to success throughout the different phases over the last two years.
“This project was delivered by a vast supply of Limerick suppliers, but this collaboration didn’t just stop there,” said Ms O’Donnell.
Ingenium CEO Dr James Ring explained how this partnership was not just proof of the company’s investment in Limerick’s home-grown talent but is a “stunning statement that showcases beautifully the foundation of who we are as a company and what we represent — integrity, collaboration, excellence, innovation, and, most importantly, a passion for people”.
The wealth of over 200 years of history in Number 68 hasn’t daunted Dr Ring, who believes that, like this significant building, Ingenium is on a “development journey — one where we work with clients, address their challenges, and focus on tailoring solutions so that all stakeholders in change can see the rewards.”
He has high hopes for the future of Ingenium and 68 O’Connell Street: “For us, this project is about turning a vision into reality. We hope that this development serves as an indicator for potential clients who are looking for support to propel their organisations and their talent forward”