Irish designer with global interiors brand returns to his roots
With roots in England and offices in London and New York, Bryan O’Sullivan Studio works with clients around the world to create contemporary and enjoyable design that is both elegant and eclectic. Informed by O’Sullivan’s encyclopedic knowledge of design and architecture, projects span residential, hospitality, restaurants, bars and yachts. The hallmark of the design studio is a simple and authentic glamor inspired by classic French and Italian architects of the 1940s, 50s and 60s, but always on the lookout for something new.
What was it like coming back to your hometown of Kenmare for the Park Hotel revamp? The Park Hotel has always been a marker of special occasions for me, so it was amazing to have the opportunity to work on a space that I held so close. Although I have lived overseas for nearly 20 years, I still call Kenmare home. This is the place that motivates me the most.
How would you describe the style of the Park Hotel in Kenmare? As I already loved the Park Hotel so much, I was very conscious not to interfere with the traditional style for which it is known and loved. It was rather to update it with benevolence. John and Francis Brennan, the two brothers who own the hotel, have spent many years collecting the antiques and works of art inside the hotel. These provided an excellent starting point.
What is the process for a renovation of this nature? Is there a certain element you start with? Because of my background in architecture, that’s often where we start, and this project was no exception. Through this process, we realized that the restoration of the interior terrace allowed for a new connection between the living room and the restaurant, as well as an opportunity to build an interior window. Thus, the piano can now be heard in all 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 other cities where you often work. How did geography play a role in your design? The views from the Park Hotel are breathtaking and for this reason the lounge bow window became a real focal point during the refurbishment. We introduced a curved banquette to make it a feature of the room, and we pulled the curtains outside the reveal to ensure light and views were both maximized and framed. Likewise, the antique mirror in the champagne bar ensures everyone has a glimpse no matter which direction you’re facing!
How did you first become interested in design? I have always been very interested in art and design from an early age. My grandfather had a construction company and used to hand draw floor plans. I remember hanging around his office mimicking his sketches. Art has always been my favorite subject in school. I used to skip class and go to the art room where my teacher let me hide and doodle and paint.
What trends have you noticed in design? There is more emphasis on craftsmanship and manufacturing and moving away from mass production. There are so many talented artisans and specialists and incorporating their skills into a piece of furniture or an interior can transform the room or space. There’s also so much trash these days that we really try to design spaces and rooms that are meant to last from this generation to the next and beyond.