Art Deco Dublin: The Gas Co.
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This cache is one in a series highlighting some of Dublin's finest examples of Art Deco architecture. The design movement, which was popular roughly between the two world wars, never had an enormous impact in Ireland. Nevertheless many beautiful buildings were constructed along Art Deco lines, and while many have been demolished, there are still several fine examples to be seen in modern Dublin. This series of caches will bring you to several examples, but is not intended to be a comprehensive list.
The structure of Art Deco is based on mathematical geometric shapes. It was widely considered to be an eclectic form of elegant and stylish modernism, being influenced by a variety of sources. Among them were the so-called "primitive" arts of Africa, Ancient Egypt, and Aztec Mexico, as well as machine-age or streamline technology such as modern aviation, electric lighting, the radio, the ocean liner and the skyscraper.
Art Deco design influences were expressed in fractionated, crystalline, faceted forms of decorative Cubism and Futurism. Other popular themes in Art Deco were trapezoidal, zigzagged, geometric, and jumbled shapes, which can be seen in many early pieces. These were the buildings of the future: sleek, geometric, dramatic. With their cubic forms and zigzag designs, art deco buildings embraced the machine age.
The Gas Co, D’olier St is one of the finest examples of art Deco architecture in Dublin. It was designed by Architects Robinson & Keefe in 1928 as the head office for Dublin’s Gas company and operated as a salesroom fof the Gas company. In 2002 it was refurbished by Trinity College for use as the School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies.
During the refurbishment, the building mostly escaped major change. The black smooth polished granite exterior, the contrasting chrome remain, as do some of the architectural fittings and a fine interior hanging clock. Zig-zag glazing bars on the upstairs windows vanished and an automatic folding door was added.
Three etched windows above the entrance depict gas related motifs. The central panel shows what could be a gas production vessel surrounded by stylised flames while the panels on either side each show a man working with a shovel in front of a factory.
The façade also has several stepped elements. The whole of the display windows and doors are stepped back into the building. There is a stepped ornament above the door and one is each of the alcoves on either side at street level. Even the small vents along the front of the building have been designed in the style of a sunburst.
This cache is a nano, and is located away from the building itself, as I could not find a suitable spot nearby. Stealth is required in this urban location, and please be aware of the many people who pass by this busy location.
Art Deco Ireland
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