McCabe Design – the perfect fit

13 Jun , 2018  

Barry McCabe of McCabe Design Group was crowned 2017 ‘Fit Out Designer of the Year’ back in November. Building Ireland caught up with him to find out the secrets of his success.

Launched in 2012, The Fit Out Awards celebrate excellence in the execution of world-class fit outs, and also the people and clients who drive these projects.

By providing a showcase to recognise this distinct and unique design and construction industry, the Fit Out Awards seek to encourage greater investment by corporate and public sector clients; the awards also aim to support the development of key fit-out skills and promote best practice to help the sector grow in the years to come.

This year’s winners were revealed at the sixth annual gala ceremony on  Thursday, November 2nd  at the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Dublin and Barry McCabe of McCabe Design Group was popping the champagne corks after he scooped the Fit Out Designer of the Year accolade.

“As a practice, we were delighted when our name was announced,” Barry recalled in conversation with Building Ireland. “We were shortlisted in five categories which was a great achievement in itself. Naturally, we were hoping we would win but I wouldn’t say we were expecting it, so, it came as great honour to be recognised by our industry.”

Submissions were judged by a panel of distinguished commentators, critics, international designers and fit out practitioners.

“There was a fair bit of work involved in collating all of our submissions but it proved to be worth it in the end,” Barry added. “We received great feedback from the judges on the night and the Fit Out Designer of the Year award was a prestigious one to get as it covered all of our disciplines.”

McCabe Design is a multi-disciplinary design company which has been delivering solutions for their clients since 1989. Their services range from retail and interior design, leisure and hospitality to graphic design and event and exhibition design.

They understand their clients and their objectives – to deliver successful brand experiences in which they keep the customer in mind, driving brand awareness and product interaction that ultimately drives sales.

The wide range of services they provide include branding / visual communications / interior design for cafes, office interiors, restaurants, retail stores, cinema design / project management / planning, fire and DAC certification.

Regular cinema goers will be familiar with McCabe Design Group’s work as they count the Omniplex Cinema Group – shortlisted in the Fit Out Client of the Year  category – amongst their list of valued clients. McCabes Pharmacy and their Dundrum store featured on the Retail shortlist.

“Our speciality is the fact that we don’t specialise in any one thing – pardon the pun!” MD and Design director Barry commented.

“In the past I’ve worked in New York and London on trade exhibition designs but our focus here is very much on fit-out work and we count ourselves fortunate to work for really premium clients such as the Omniplex Cinema Group.

“We also do a lot work a lot in the retail industry. For example, we developed a whole new retail brand for McCabes Pharmacy a year ago while we were also involved in the new forecourt design and Re.Store branding for Topaz.”

Other high-end projects that have McCabe Design Group’s stamp all over them include the 4-star Sea Lodge Hotel in Waterville, Co Kerry; The Castle Golf Club, Dublin and the Milltown Golf Club, Dublin.

“We’ve also worked on the external and internal design in the Arboretum Garden Centre in Carlow which won the Retail Excellence Garden Centre of the Year for 2017 at the Retail Excellence Awards while last year we designed a new ladies beauty salon in the Shelbourne Hotel.”

McCabe Design Group’s end-to-end interior design service is so much more than just an incredibly good looking interior fit-out for your business!

When working with you, they take a holistic approach to designing your business. They take time to assess all of your front-end business needs, including your branding and your core commercial message.

They then design a solution that ‘fits’ your business and delights and appeals to your customers. They aim to design solutions that give you everything you will need to bring your vision for your business to life and to connect to your customers.

Looking back on the practice’s early days, Barry continued: “We experienced a lot of growth early on but had to reinvent ourselves after the recession hit. Nowadays, we are a smaller studio with four full-time employees but a number of our ex staff members continue to work with us on a contract basis.

“We work across a lot of different industries and, thankfully, have a good workload on at the moment.”

The customer is king when it comes to how the McCabe Design Group conduct their business.

“We pride ourselves on our one-to-one client service. When we had a larger agency, we went to the initial meetings, got things up and running and then sent the juniors out to take over. We are now more about the personal service. We meet with the client at the design stage and work hand-in-hand with them to deliver a personal service.”

Are there are plans in the pipeline for expansion at McCabe Design Group?

“Yes and no. I don’t necessarily believe big is beautiful but we are always on the lookout for new work. We’re fielding plenty of enquiries and no doubt we will expand in some shape or form over the next 12 months.”

McCabe Design Group

The Studio,

23 Henly Park,


Dublin 14, Ireland

Telephone:  +353 1 687 40 44

Email:  [email protected]

Website: www.mdg.ie

Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, February 2018, Vol 4 No 2