Canteen, Limerick

Housed within the ground floor of a mid-sized Georgian three-storey over basement end-of-terrace premises on the corner of a Georgian block in Limerick City Centre, Canteen is an inexpensive cafe fit-out delivered on a tight budget and in a tight timeframe. In the spirit of the simple food prepared at Canteen, there is a similar desire here to offer a Spartan yet robust interior – much like an unadorned Italian chipper or endangered ‘greasy spoon’ of yesteryear – that allows for people to enjoy food in a simple setting.

A ground-floor space, already cleared by a previous shop unit fit-out, is rehabilitated as a long deep room running from the street through to the rear of the plot where a new mono-pitch rooflight is added in order to capture south light and unexpected views of the backlands of the Georgian block. A number of new windows are punctured through the wall onto the service lane to the side in order to introduce more natural light into Canteen but also to offer views towards the immediate context of lane and street beyond. An existing concrete plinth onto the street is polished to offer a raised seating area onto the street.

Formwork shuttering plywood is chosen for both robustness, cost and material properties in order to master all internal fixtures and fittings from tables, wall linings, servery counter, sign-boards and condiment shelves. Laser cutting was chosen on similar grounds for speed of fabrication and cost. This process resulted in the development with the fitter of red resin plug inserts to deal with the change of direction in a laser jig at all joints and fixing points. Lastly, a moss green linoleum floor offers a shot of colour to an otherwise simple black-and-white space.