An Irish Designer With A Global Interiors Brand Returns To His Roots
With its roots in England and offices in both London and New York, Bryan O’Sullivan Studio works with clients globally to create contemporary and liveable design that is both elegant and eclectic. Informed by O’Sullivan’s encyclopedic knowledge of design and architecture—projects span residential, hospitality, restaurants, bar, and yachts. The hallmark of the design studio is a simple and authentic glamour inspired by the classic French and Italian architects of the 1940s, 50s and 60s, yet always reaching for what’s new.
What was it like to come back to your hometown of Kenmare for the Park Hotel redesign? The Park Hotel has always been a marker of special occasions for me, so it was incredible to have the opportunity to work on a space that I have held so close. Although I have lived abroad for almost 20 years, I still think of Kenmare as home. It is the place that grounds me the most.
How would you describe the style of the Park Hotel in Kenmare? Since I loved the Park Hotel so much already I was very conscious of not interfering with the traditional style it’s known and loved for. It was more a case of updating it sympathetically. John and Francis Brennan, the two brothers who own the hotel, have spent many years collecting the antiques and artwork inside the hotel. These provided a great starting point.
What is the process for a renovation of this nature? Is there a certain element you begin with? Owing to my background in architecture, this is often where we begin, and this project was no exception. Through this process we realised the restoration of the internal terrace allowed for a new connection between the drawing room and restaurant, as well as an opportunity to build an internal window. As such, the piano can now be heard throughout the evening rooms. We also discovered various opportunities that would bring in natural light and brighten up the spaces.
Kenmare is quite different from London and the other cities where you often work. How did the geography play a role in your design? The views from the Park Hotel are breathtaking and for this reason, the bow window in the drawing room became a real focus during the renovation. We introduced a curved banquette to make it a feature of the room, and we took the curtains outside of the reveal to ensure the light and views were both maximised and framed. Similarly, the antique mirror in the Champagne bar ensures that everyone gets a glimpse out no matter what direction you’re facing!
How did you first get interested in the design? I was always really interested in art and design from a very young age. My grandfather had a building company and used to hand-draw floor plans. I remember hanging out in his office mimicking his sketches. Art was always my favourite subject in school. I used to skip class and go to the art room where my teacher would let me hide and scribble and paint away.
What are some of the trends you’ve noticed in design? There is more of an emphasis on good craft and workmanship and a move away from mass production. There are so many talented artisans and specialists out there and incorporating their skills in a piece of furniture or for an interior can transform the piece or the space. There is also so much waste these days that we really try to design spaces and pieces that are intended to last from this generation to the next and beyond.