KCC Group shortlisted for TWO projects – 2024 GAI Architectural Ironmongery Specification Awards

8th February 2024

We are delighted to announce that the two projects we put forward for the GAI 2024 Architectural Ironmongery Specification Awards have been shortlisted with the winners to be announced in April 2024. The projects we chose to nominate were the prestigious Cashel Palace Hotel in Tipperary and Queens University Student Centre in Belfast. Having worked closely with the design teams on both projects we drafted a submission for each under the given criteria which included details about the buildings themselves, our reasons for nominating them, the ironmongery specified, the aesthetic appeal and sustainability.

Cashel Palace Hotel

Shortlisted under “International Project” category

Nestled at the base of a hill adjacent to the renowned Rock of Cashel in Ireland, Cashel Palace stands as a remarkable testament to 18th-century architectural grandeur. Originally conceived as the residence for Ireland’s archbishops, this imposing structure was constructed in 1728 under the guidance of the esteemed architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearce. Recently, Cashel Palace underwent a meticulous restoration led by Smallwood Architects and Reddy Architecture & Urbanism, resulting in a harmonious blend of historical elegance and contemporary luxury. Every aspect of the design pays homage to its storied past while seamlessly integrating modern amenities, creating a serene haven for guests seeking respite from the bustle of daily life. Adhering to rigorous standards of sustainability, Cashel Palace exemplifies excellence in construction, restoration, and environmental stewardship, aligning with the principles of the esteemed “Relais & Chateaux” association. The vision for Cashel Palace was to uphold its traditional charm while offering unparalleled five-star hospitality, a mission that was revitalized after the property ceased operations in 2014, causing a notable void in the town of Cashel. However, with its recent restoration, Cashel Palace has once again become a beacon of prosperity for the area, attracting visitors from near and far and revitalizing the local economy through job creation and tourism.

KCC worked very closely with the design teams to ensure that the bespoke ironmongery would enhance the individual spaces, each with their own unique colours, art, antiques and design, with an emphasis on warmth, textures and luxury, while still being functional, practical and durable.

Cashel Palace has been nominated and won several awards since it re-opened in 2022, including the “Honorable Mention in Architecture” award in the LIV Hospitality Design Awards; the “World’s Best Country House Hotel” as part of the National Geographic UK’s “World’s 42 Best Hotels”; “Hotel of the Year 2022” by The Ireland Guide; the “Best Hotel Interior Award” in the International Property Awards and the Judge’s Silver Award in the 2023 Irish Construction Excellence Awards with main Contractor Mulcahy Construction, to name a few.

Cashel Palace Hotel, the former residence of the Archbishops of Cashel located at the foot of the Rock of Cashel, Co Tipperary, was beautifully and sensitively refurbished and extended into a stunning 42 bedroom, 5 star hotel complete with state-of-the-art spa and conference facilities by Smallwood Architects and Reddy Architecture & Urbanism and opened its doors to guests in March 2022 after a four-year transformative redevelopment project. We worked with Smallwood Architects and Emma Pearson Design to create a completely bespoke, sophisticated, and luxurious quality architectural ironmongery specification to meet both the aesthetic and functional requirements of modern, luxurious hotel. The design brief drew design inspiration from the original splendour and grandeur of the building itself. When creating the bespoke ironmongery specification, while aesthetics and design were key priorities, we also had to ensure that the levers, pull handles, locks, plates and other ironmongery accessories would be durable enough to withstand potentially heavy usage in a busy hotel environment. Cashel Palace exudes luxury and there is an expectation of high standards and quality across every aspect of the hotel, therefore every detail of the selection and specification of the operating ironmongery was carefully considered. Across the hotel we utilised handmade, bespoke Frank Allart ironmongery including levers, doorknobs, pull handles and window fixings, in a variety of styles and textures, in antique bronze to suit the design intent of the interiors and the building itself. In the bathrooms and ensuites we used polished chrome levers and locks, thumbturns & escutcheons against luxurious white tiles and pristinely white doors.

We worked closely with the Architects & Interior Designers to create an ironmongery specification that would blend in perfectly with this stunning hospitality project. As a redevelopment of an existing architectural heritage building, the brief was to hold true to the original beauty and charm of the property and this carried through to the ironmongery chosen for the project. Across the main areas of the hotel we utilised a bespoke antique bronze ironmongery from our Frank Allart range, adding interest with textured, knurled and leather details on pull handles and levers, depending on the style and aesthetic of each room. Every detail on the entire project was meticulously considered and planned and the architectural ironmongery was no exception. Push plates, kick plates, door knobs, hinges and closers all followed suit, all working within the desired aesthetic of the building. For the guest bathrooms we used a chrome hardware solution to match the bathroom fixtures and other sanitary-ware.

The ironmongery used for Cashel Palace was manufactured specifically for the project using the Frank Allart handmade range and therefore involved no mass production. The ironmongery was also manufactured by hand in the UK which reduced travel & transport-related emissions. We endeavoured to keep shipments to a minimum to reduce environmental impact where possible and our carbon footprint. Additionally, all of the packaging used was recyclable. The high quality of the ironmongery specified will also ensure a long product lifespan, negating the need for replacement hardware in years to come. As standard we provide clients with an ironmongery maintenance guide after installation to ensure that everything continues to operate and function as originally intended.

Queen’s University BELFAST Student Centre

Shortlisted under “Health & Education Project” category

QUB Student Centre, also known as “One Elmwood” was a redevelopment of an important area of Queens University Campus in Belfast. Designed as an 11,000sqm flexible space to house Student Unions bars, a Spar shop, a café and student services along with ‘Mandela Hall’, a multi-purpose music and events venue, this development saw the replacement of existing facilities and the creation of a holistic, modern and cutting-edge facility.

We were involved from the initial design and specification stage of this prestigious project and worked in conjunction with the design teams in RPP Architect and Felix O’Hare to deliver a compliant and durable integrated ironmongery, electric locking, automation, and bespoke timber door set solution.

Our solution included a series of high-performance Elite timber door sets in laminate and veneer finishes with a requirement for acoustic performance properties due to the nature of the intended use of the building. Some of the door sets specified were PAS24 certified for enhanced security. We provided a combination of non-fire rated, FD30s and FD60s door sets for fire and smoke resistance in a variety of orientations including single, double and leaf-and-a-half, with and without vision panels, solid or glazed over panels or glazed side screens. We provided electric locking and door automation throughout to support the buildings access strategy.

We provided a full ironmongery package for the project utilising our grade 316 stainless steel modus range in a satin finish for a modern yet durable solution capable of withstanding heavy daily usage.

Working with the design team from a very early stage it was clear from the outset that they wanted to deliver a high-quality building . The ironmongery selection of using our Modus Range of Hardware give the team and client piece of mind knowing that the hardware has a 25 year warranty, this was important for the life cycle costs of the building

As well as durability the style and finish of the ironmongery was important, we ran with a mitred return to door safety lever handle in a satin stainless-steel finish, the finish of the door hardware complemented the laminate and veneer door finishes ensuring LRV compliance.

Our Modus Range of Ironmongery is designed to be sustainable, having a 25-year guarantee shows that the products last much longer that alternatives and can be filtered into the life cycle costs of the building. Our Manufacturer also recycles the material with Stainless Steel being a material that can be reused an infinite number of times without any loss of strength. Our Manufacturer also holds 2 ISO certificates – ISO9001 and ISO14001, demonstrating their abilities in a range of areas from manufacturing efficiencies through to waste reduction to achieve these certificates.

The Awards ceremony will take place in Southwark Cathedral in the UK on April 18th 2024












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