Makeover for Orpen masterpiece on Grafton Street

Former cinema designed by painter’s brother for revamp as retail space

 

IPUT, the largest unlisted property vehicle in the State, has embarked on a substantial reconfiguration of 72 Grafton Street to enhance and enlarge its shopping facilities but more particularly to highlight a stunning curved vaulted ceiling at first-floor level with unique geometric faceting.

The almost forgotten ceiling and the distinctive premises date back to 1910 when they were designed as a cinema by architect Richard Francis Caulfield Orpen, a brother of the painter William Orpen.

Originally known as the Grafton Picture House, it opened as a cinema on April 11th, 1911, and continued to do business for more than 60 years until the building was substantially rebuilt and converted for retail use once the street had been pedestrianised.

IPUT is now spending an estimated €1.75 million on the latest redevelopment, which will create 8,361sq m (9,000sq ft) of retail space over three floors and include a double-height feature entrance and a seven- metre-wide fully glazed shop front.

Retailers

Bank of Ireland

Michael Clarke, head of investments at IPUT, said the consideration they had given to the building’s redesign and the investment they were making reflected its unique character and their determination to create an international standard flagship store in Dublin’s strongest retailing location.

This was coinciding with intense interest and letting activity involving global retail brands seeking representation on the street, he said.

Stephen Murray of JLL will be handling the letting of the building which is expected to be ready for occupancy next September.