When it comes to striking public art projects, this building has it all sewn up.
The landmark Singer’s Corner building in the heart of Cork city centre is getting a very special artistic facelift.
Johnny Bugler, 39, a member of Cork Printmakers, is leading a team of four artists — Conall Cary, Fiona Kelly, Dominic Fee and Cathal Duane — who are painting a striking black and gold Chinese-inspired floral motif on the historic end-of-terrace building on the junction of Washington St and Grand Parade.
“It’s really exciting, and really stressful at the same time,” Mr Bugler said.
“It’s such a busy junction, with a lot of pedestrians and traffic, which presented a lot of technical difficulties around access.
“But thanks to our scaffolding team, who designed a free-standing scaffold on one side, supported with four tonnes of water, we’ve managed to get the scaffold in place for the project.”
Mr Bugler won the commission to wrap the upper floors of the building in the striking design as part of a city council-commissioned pilot public art project.
He drew his inspiration from the design and look of the old black sewing machines which were once sold from Singer’s Sewing Shop below.
Some of the old machines are still on display in the window of what is today the Singer’s Corner Sewing Centre.
The building was one of several which were shortlisted by the council earlier this year for inclusion in this ambitious public art project.
Artists were invited to pitch ideas that would transform the upper floors of several earmarked buildings, all located in prominent locations along the city’s historic spine, and provide a temporary installation that highlights and animates the building with colour, light and movement.
Each individual building project got a budget of around €10,000, drawn from the Department of Environment, Community, and Local Government’s Public Area Enhancement Scheme fund.
The city officials driving the scheme said they hope it will bring a bit of life and colour into the city, and “start a conversation” about the future of vacant space in the city centre.
The foundation stone for the Singer’s Corner terrace was laid in 1827 and the Singer Sewing Machine Company moved into No 1 Washington St, a late Georgian building, between 1873 and 1875.
The building was the headquarters of the Singer Company in Ireland and every floor was in use for offices and workshops.
Singer Sewing Centre, affectionately known as Singer’s Corner, still retains its scale and proportions with a double height shop front and glazing above the shop’s main fascia.
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