It’s all about the detail

17 Jun , 2020  

An obsession with detail – every element, every millimetre – has been critical to the growth and success of MILLIMETRE DESIGN. The exceptional multi-disciplinary design practice has received numerous accolades over the years and was recently shortlisted in the Building Refurbishment for a Single Building or Development category of the 2019 Building & Architect of the Year Awards, which took place in The Mansion House, Dublin on October 3, for its stunning redesign of the iconic Café en Seine on 39 and 40 Dawson Street.

On the same night, the project was also up for the Europe Bar of the Year Award at the prestigious 2019 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards in King’s Cross, London, which are attended by the world’s most influential designers and hotel, restaurant and bar operators, who are responsible for amazing design of food and beverage spaces the world over.

MILLIMETRE DESIGN collaborated with the Mercantile Group on the €4 million revamp, which took five months to complete last year. Spanning over three floors and two buildings, Café en Seine has been transformed into a sleek, opulent space in a style redolent of the grandest Parisian brasserie. The most dramatic aspect of the redesign is the new indoor-outdoor Street Garden with a retractable roof, which is visible from the front entrance on Dawson Street. This opens out through a wall of glass onto Anne’s Lane behind. Pastiche shopfronts, a pop-up art gallery which changes monthly and a fully operational coffee shop line one side of this space. On the other side, there is a bar counter with a period building façade behind it.

“We were proud to be associated with this project,” MILLIMETRE DESIGN managing director Ronan Holohan enthuses.

“The revamp commenced in June 2018 and was completed the following November. A lot of planning and design went into Café en Seine and the feedback has been hugely positive. We are extremely grateful to all those who were involved in making it happen. It was truly a great team effort and we were delighted to have worked with the Mercantile Group on this amazing venue.”

He continues: “The client wanted to make it an all-day venue where business and pleasure could be mixed, and to bring a French influence to it. I’d like to think that both of these requirements were achieved. It consists of seven bars, so it was quite a sizeable and challenging project. There was an element of architectural conservation involved also.”

Established in 2005 and employing a team of 32, MILLIMETRE DESIGN is a leading interior design and branding studio based in Ongar Village, Dublin 15. The practice designs for clients at home and abroad, across a wide spectrum of industry sectors, including food, hotel, retail, bar, restaurant and office.

“We’re the largest practice of our kind in the country. We increasingly see ourselves as a design solution agency rather than a bar or hotel design practice. We don’t confine ourselves to the hospitality sector. We’re a multi-faceted studio offering a complete design solution,” Ronan says.

“For us, design is all about the detail. Not only the detail of how it will look, but also how it will work for the user. The total experience of the client’s customers or employees is what matters most to us.”

Every project is different and each client’s needs are unique. MILLIMETRE DESIGN are, therefore, flexible in their approach. They collaborate, as required, within large scale projects and with other industry professionals. With an in-depth knowledge of current building regulations, they can also take care of all the necessary documentation for the client. The award-winning practice works with proven design methods and processes to ensure that projects are designed and delivered within agreed budget and timescale. MILLIMETRE DESIGN’s track record of delivery is second to none. 

“Our reputation is growing in Ireland and internationally as well. We’re currently working on projects in London, Portugal (residential) and the US. We’re always trying to break new boundaries, to give our clients something different. We have huge knowledge and experience, offering everything from initial concept design and project management to site supervision, detail and delivery. We deliver on our concepts and want every aspect of the job to be right.”

For the highly-skilled and capable MILLIMETRE DESIGN team, variety is the spice of life.

“By working across all business sectors, our designers are challenged on a daily basis. The variety in our projects not only creates energy in our office, but it heightens our problem-solving abilities. This unique approach has enabled us to build a high-motivated and passionate team of creative designers. Our people are our greatest strength,” the affable Limerick man adds.

MILLIMETRE DESIGN boasts a wide and varied client-base which includes the likes of Kingspan, Maxol, Chopped, MHL Hotels, Symantec, Aramark, Allianz, EZ Living Furniture, GameStop, Irish Life, Lufthansa and Trinity College Dublin.

“They choose us because of our knowledge, experience, creativity and ability to deliver top-class solutions. Clients also enjoy working with us because we can offer a broader range of design services than the competition, at competitive prices,” Ronan explains.

“We’re close to finishing a major design project for Kingspan on their new global innovation hub in Kingscourt, Co. Cavan. The hub will test and develop new digital and chemical products. We’ve used a lot of AR and VR technology on this project which enhances design and is a growing area for us.

“We’ve just finished a restoration and new build design for the Powerscourt Distillery in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and another project for JC’s Supermarket in Swords. We’re kept very busy.”

Ronan and his team would like to take this opportunity to thank their clients for their continued support and repeat business.


4 Ongar Square,

Ongar Village,

Dublin 15

D15 H34C

Telephone: +353 (0)1 826 3971

Email: [email protected]

Web: www.millimetredesign.com

Insta: @millimetredesign

LinkedIn: @millimetre-design

This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, December 2019/January 2020, Vol 5 No 11