With roots in England and offices in both London and New York, Bryan O’Sullivan Studio works with clients around the world to create contemporary, livable design that is both stylish and eclectic. Informed by O’Sullivan’s encyclopedic knowledge of design and architecture, projects span residential, hotel, restaurant, bar and yacht projects. The hallmark of the design studio is a simple and authentic glamor inspired by the classic French and Italian architects of the 40s, 50s and 60s, but always looking for the new.
What was it like coming back to your home town of Kenmare for the redesign of the Park Hotel? The Park Hotel has always been a marker of special occasions for me, so it was amazing to have the opportunity to work in a space that was so close to me. Although I have lived abroad for almost 20 years, I still think of Kenmare as home. It is the place that connects me the most.
How would you describe the style of the Park Hotel in Kenmare? Having already loved the Park Hotel so much, I was very conscious of not interfering with the traditional style that it is known and loved for. It was more a case of upgrading it sympathetically. John and Francis Brennan, the two brothers who own the hotel, have spent many years collecting antiques and works of art within the hotel. These provided a great starting point.
What is the process for a renewal of this nature? Is there an item you start with? Due to my background in architecture, this is often where we start, and this project was no exception. Through this process, we realized that the restoration of the internal terrace allowed for a new connection between the lounge and the restaurant, as well as the opportunity to build an internal window. As such, the piano can now be heard in every room at night. We also discovered several 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. What role did geography play in your design? The views from the Park Hotel are stunning and for this reason the arched window in the lounge became a real focus during the renovation. We introduced a curved bench to make it a feature of the room, and removed the curtains from the front to ensure light and views were maximized and framed. Likewise, the antique mirror in the champagne bar ensures everyone can see no matter which direction you’re looking.
How did you first become interested in design? I was always very interested in art and design from a very young age. My grandfather had a construction company and used to draw floor plans by hand. I remember hanging out in his office imitating his sketches. Art was always my favorite subject in school. I used to skip classes and go to the art room where my teacher would let me hide and doodle and paint.
What are some of the trends you’ve noticed in design? There is more emphasis on good craftsmanship and workmanship and a move away from mass production. There are so many talented craftsmen and specialists out there and incorporating their skills into a piece of furniture or interior can transform the piece or space. There is also so much waste these days that we really try to design spaces and pieces that are meant to last from this generation to the next and beyond.