Mary Immaculate College is a major third level institution which was founded in Limerick. The college recently opened the Lime Tree Theatre, now recognised as the premier performance space in the Munster region. To complement the theatre experience, Mary Immaculate College commissioned Hugh Kelly Architects to design a reception space for theatre patrons. During normal college hours the space is a circulation route between lecture halls. At night the space becomes a theatre bar where theatre patrons enjoy a drink and mingle.
The design intent derived from the idea of a functional space sandwiched between two walls, a classroom wall and the main corridor wall. An important consideration would be that during normal working time, the bar would be invisible but during the evening it would be a focal point or a centre of activity.
The Lime Tree Theatre is located in the ‘TARA’ building, which was built around an existing mature lime tree and hence the name. The graphics on the bar frontage follows this theme and the execution of the design is influenced by Chinese woodblock printing ‘Ukiyo-e’. Translated, it means pictures of the floating world. The iconic Chinese print style depicting trees is evoked in the treatment of the bar frontage. During the day lime tree branches can be seen etched across the smooth mint coloured corian surface of the canopy door. At night the lower bar frontage comes alive with illuminated lime tree branch etchings. The back wall shelving is also made from corian and creates a warm green/yellow inviting glow.
The bar counter form is derived from bar tender ergonomics and universal assess. The lower counter meets the requirements for people with disabilities and the higher counter is the working plane for bar staff.
The bar counters and shelves are all made from corian. Led lighting is used within the fit out carcase to illuminate the tracings of lime tree branches and the rear shelves.