Dezeen Magazine

Hotel Ballymun

Hotel Ballymun is a project that temporarily turned a condemned tower block in Ballymun, Ireland, into a hotel as part of a cultural project headed by artist Seamus Nolan.


From March to April this year, the hotel's nine bedrooms were rented to guests while the public areas hosted design installations by Royal College of Art graduate Jonathan Legge and Irish design collective Sticks, as well as performances and events.


The block is due to be demolished this month.


Below: breakfast room


Below: library/reading room


Below: Room 1


Below: Room 2


Below: Room 5


Below: sitting room


A statement about the project follows:




From 23rd of March to the 27th of April 2007 the 14th floor of the Clarke Tower, one of the last remaining condemned tower blocks in Ballymun, Ireland, was transformed into a hotel. The project, commissioned by Breaking Ground of Ballymun Regeneration Ltd, was by the young, award-winning artist, Seamus Nolan.


For what Seamus Nolan called “a large scale sculptural performance, operating in conjunction with local community groups" recent RCA design graduate Jonathan Legge along side Irish design partnership Sticks were commissioned to develop the design side of the project. The interiors of the flats were delicately pared back to create the backdrop for a mix of customised and remodelled abandoned furniture, each item designed and made during workshops with enthusiastic group of local volunteers.


In addition to the nine guest bedrooms there was a garden room, a disco (music supplied by old cassettes found in the tower), a conference room, a communal kitchen and a reception area.


Guests at Hotel Ballymun were able to appreciate the spectacular views over Dublin, just weeks before these views cease to exist. Clarke Tower is due for demolition this June 2007.


An eclectic programme of cultural and social events took place in the Hotel while it was open to the public.


Hotel Ballymun re-considered the utopian architecture of 1960’s Ballymun, a once neglected suburb of north Dublin and now the centre of the largest regeneration programme in Europe. It encouraged the practice of salvaging objects, spaces and resources from the past, re-using them inventively to meet contemporary needs.

The result, though basic in its aesthetic, resonated with playful character and unexpected intervention, extraordinary ordinary. A casual yet considered anthology of objects and furniture created from indigenous materials and produced by the rejuvenating energy of the local community.

This project has been commissioned by Breaking Ground, the Ballymun Regeneration Ltd per cent for art programme.