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Primark’s Bank Buildings in Belfast wins top prize at Fit Out Awards

Fit Out Awards 2023 shines the spotlight on the interiors that make buildings work for their users

Close to 900 fit out specialists from Ireland’s vibrant construction sector came together to celebrate the best in the business at the Fit Out Awards 2023 last November.

The awards, hosted by actor and comedian Mario Rosenstock, took place at The Clayton Hotel on Burlington Road, Dublin, after judges had sifted through 183 entries to find the 29 award winners. Now in its 12th year, the gala awards night attracted a staggering 878 guests.

Dublin-based hospitality interior specialist Millimetre Design was part of a team that won the small office over €500K award, sponsored by Jan Janssens & Company. The team included T&I Fitouts and Iconic Offices and the award was for their work with a global drinks brand at its new Dublin headquarters in The Masonry.

Millimetre’s managing director Ronan Holohan was also named Fit Out leader 2023 (sponsored by Zip Water). He said: “I was so proud to receive the award of Fit Out leader of the year and also to have a win in the office fit out category. The overall standard of entries was just phenomenal. Fantastic to see so many entries this year in the international category, where we ourselves had two projects shortlisted.”


Awards platinum sponsor Globoserv praised the awards evening for the opportunities it presented to meet industry figures in person. David Burke, managing director, said: “Globoserv supports the Fit Out Awards as it is a fantastic event that celebrates exceptional talent. It is hugely beneficial to business to get the chance to advertise and showcase all the hard work throughout the year, and also a great opportunity to network with existing and potential future clients.”

Great interiors work within the public sector was recognised too. Reddy Architecture and Urbanism Group won the Fit Out project of the year – public sector (sponsored by Hamilton Robson). Lisa Smyth, director and head of interiors, said: “It was great to see the ever rising standard of entries by Irish designers and architects in a diverse range of categories. Our team was delighted to receive two awards for our James Joyce Library project as it was a testament to all the research and end-user engagement on the project.”

Etag Fixings, another platinum sponsor, commended the awards for bringing the construction community together. Shaun Bonner, group sales director, Etag Ireland and UK, said: “Etag always enjoys being a part of the Fit Out Awards to celebrate excellence and innovation in construction. The awards not only recognise the achievements within the industry but also inspire a culture of continuous improvement, fostering a stronger, more dynamic construction community.”

It wasn’t just the winners who had a ball at the awards evening. Denise Lawlor is head of building consultancy at Knight Frank Ireland, which was a finalist for its work with the bank PTSB. She said: “We are immensely proud to be shortlisted for medium office of the year at this year’s awards. Having this industry recognition is testament to all the great efforts and overcoming challenges along the path of delivering the project for our client PTSB.”

Platinum sponsor MJF Interiors had just rebranded in time for the awards. Columb Casey, director, said: “For this year’s awards and to coincide with our recent rebranding as MJF Interiors, we came on-board as a sponsor. We did this to gain brand awareness and maximise our exposure to our target market. It’s important to us to support our industry in their goals by celebrating its success.”

Another finalist was hotel and luxury apartment specialist Castlebrook. Crispin Satchell, group sales director, said: “The Fit Out Awards recognise the very best of Irish design, interior fit out and construction both nationally and internationally. It’s a powerful platform to showcase immense talent and Castlebrook is delighted to have been shortlisted this year.”

Ash Wilson, creative director of Ash Wilson Design (AWD), was another finalist. She said: “Ireland has such a rich fabric of outstanding designers and creatives. The Fit Out Awards really showcases them so we were honoured that AWD was a nominee for the second year, particularly in an area that we really pride ourselves in – design collaboration.”

The judges had a tough time of it. Angela Connolly, creative director at Conbu Interior Design, was judging coordinator, having judged for eight of the awards’ 12 years. She explained the process: “My role involves evaluating entries based on a criteria that prioritises both quality and significance in each category. The Fit Out Awards places a significant emphasis on judging innovative designs, meticulous attention to detail, and how each entry contributes to raising industry standards. Striking the right balance between quality and quantity is paramount, showcasing excellence and a commitment to recognising outstanding contributions within the sector.”

Speaking at the awards, Kevin O’Driscoll, director of partnership programmes at Business River, said: “Events like this are made possible through the support of sponsors. We are thankful to our 2023 sponsors and professional partners, which include Globoserv, Etag Fixings, MJF Interiors, SAS, Lumen Search, Vescom, 2tec2, TexSPace, Structure Tone, DCON Safety Consultants, Greenlam, Finsa Ireland, Walls2Workstations, Optima, Bene, McKeon Group, SIG Workplace, Zip Water, The Interiors Group, Hamilton Robson, CRM Interior Fit-Outs, Jan Janssens & Company, Solutions, Tech Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, MillerKnoll, Radii, Azure Contracting, Johnston Fit Out Group, U Value Insulation, T&I Fitouts, Procore, and Noyeks Newman. Their investment in the awards underlines their commitment and support of this key business area.”

The awards were judged by a distinguished panel of experts drawn from all areas of the fit out sector.

Full list of judges

  • Ann Marie Aguilar (judging co-ordinator), SVP at IWBI
  • Angela Connolly (judging co-ordinator), creative director, Conbu Interior Design
  • Sue Corcoran (judging co-ordinator), programme coordinator, TUS Limerick School of Art and Design
  • Britt Berentzen, programme director for the interior design and interior architecture programmes in the design faculty, Griffith College
  • Stephen Best, senior lecturer, TU Dublin
  • Dr Vanessa Brady, chief executive and founder, The Society of British and International Interior Design
  • Yvonne Callan, director, Creighan Contracts
  • Tracey Dalton, design lecturer, TU Dublin
  • Patrick Hilley, director, Hillmac Fitouts
  • Eoin Joy, chief property officer, Iconic Offices
  • Justin Kinsella, director, Harcourt Architects
  • Barry McCabe, owner and managing director, McCabe Design Group
  • Lawrence McFarlane, studio principal, SLMD Ltd
  • Kay Sargent, global codirector, HOK
  • Keith Somers, head of design and product, Lioncor
  • Michael Stiff, founder, Stiff+Trevillion Architects
  • Emer Tubridy, design department head, Blackrock Further Education Institute
  • Dr Rowan Watson, lecturer, interior architecture and design, Atlantic Technological University-Sligo
  • Patrick Wilding, senior interior architect, CBRE

Full list of winners

Fit out project of the year (Sponsored by SAS)

Winner: JCA Architects – Primark Belfast – The Bank Buildings

Fit out leader 2023 (Sponsored by Zip Water)

Recipient: Ronan Holohan

Fit out contractor of the year (Sponsored by Etag Fixings Ltd)

Winner: Structure Tone

Fit out design practice of the year (Sponsored by McKeon Group)

Winner: Perkins&Will

Fit out designer of the year (Sponsored by CRM Interior Fit-Outs)

Winner: Saul Design – Anne-Marie Saul-Rotne

Fit out designer of the year – rising star (Sponsored by T&I Fitouts)

Winner: C+W O’Brien Architects – Abigail Garcia

Fit out project management firm of the year (Sponsored by The Interiors Group)

Winner: Turner & Townsend

Fit out client of the year (Sponsored by MJF & Miller Knoll)

Winner: Total Fitout – I-RES

Fit out project manager of the year (Sponsored by Greenlam)

Winner: Cogent Associates – Glen Roche

Fit out professional consultancy of the year (Sponsored by Globoserv Ltd)

Winner: Ethos Engineering

Fit out project of the year – large office (Sponsored by W2W & Bene)

Winner: Henry J Lyons – Google Flour Mills

Fit out project of the year – small office over €500K (Sponsored by Jan Janssens & Company)

Winner: Millimetre Design, T&I Fitouts and Iconic Offices – global drinks brand at The Masonry

Fit out project of the year – small office under €500K (Sponsored by Globoserv Ltd)

Winner: Comma Architects – ISPCC HQ Office Fit-Out at 3 Harbour Square

Fit out project of the year – office new build (Sponsored by W2W & Optima)

Winner: Todd Architects – Microsoft HQ, Belfast

Fit out project of the year – medium office (Sponsored by SIG Workplace)

Winner: Henry J Lyons – Tirlán

Fit out project of the year – international (Sponsored by Structure Tone)

Winner: Kingston Lafferty Design – Sisu USA

Fit out project of the year – public sector (Sponsored by Hamilton Robson)

Winner: Reddy Architecture and Urbanism – James Joyce Library UCD

Fit out project of the year- hospitality (hotel) (Sponsored by Procore)

Winner: Mola – Westbury Hotel

Fit out project of the year – healthcare (Sponsored by Vescom)

Winner: Tap Creative – Homecare Medical Athlone

Fit out project of the year – hospitality (Sponsored by Finsa Ireland)

Winner: Luca Architecture – Pi Pizza

Fit out project of the year – retail (Sponsored by Tech Refrigeration and Air Conditioning)

Winner: JCA Architects – Primark Belfast – The Bank Buildings

Fit out project of the year – tourism & leisure (Sponsored by Johnston Fit Out Group)

Winner: Reddy Architecture and Urbanism – The James Joyce Library UCD

Fit out project of the year – conservation (Sponsored by Azure Contracting Ltd)

Winner: Henry J Lyons – Google Flour Mills

Fit out project of the year – residential (large) (Sponsored by U Value Insulation)

Winner: Total Fitout – The School Yard

Fit out project of the year – residential (Sponsored by Solutions)

Winner: Kingston Lafferty Design and DMVF – The Farm

Fit out subcontractor of the year (Sponsored by Etag Fixings Ltd)

Winner: BSG Design

Excellence in design collaboration (Sponsored by MJF & Radii)

Winner: JCA Architects and Hall Black Douglas

Excellence in health & safety (Sponsored by DCON Safety Consultants Limited)

Winner: Ardmac

Excellence in sustainability (Sponsored by 2tec2)

Winner: Interiors by Sisk