‘Best Front Forward’ for Offaly shopowners

OFFALY County Council is offering the chance to shopowners across the county to put forward their shopfronts for free shopfront design ideas as part of a novel exhibition being held in May 2011.

OFFALY County Council is offering the chance to shopowners across the county to put forward their shopfronts for free shopfront design ideas as part of a novel exhibition being held in May 2011.

The free initiative, entitled ‘Excellence in Shopfront Design’ is part of the ENGAGE exhibition being hosted by the Council over the course of the month of May which will focus on Offaly’s built heritage, protected structures and contemporary design practice with a view to increasing awareness amongst the public about architecture (Engage with Architecture Scheme 2011 (see www.offaly.ie)).

In keeping with a novel approach, the exhibition will be housed in vacant premises on Main Street in Tullamore Town Centre, and will be known as the ‘ENGAGE Architecture Centre’ for the month of May.

The Council has secured the involvement of 6 Offaly based architects registered with the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI), who will prepare, free of charge, design ideas or set of cost-effective improvements / facelift to 6 selected Offaly shopfronts.

There will be no commitment required on the part of the shopowners to do the works, but it is hoped that the initiative will generate practical ideas which the owners will want to use.

This is a novel opportunity for all shopowners to get ideas on improving their shopfronts through attending the exhibition. All shopowners will be able to avail of the design advice given to the selected shopowners at a presentation during the third week of the ENGAGE exhibition in May.

An exhibition of the chosen shopfront projects showing ‘before’ photos and a conceptual ‘after’ design will take place in the ‘ENGAGE Architecture Centre’ in Tullamore, culminating with an informal event where the architects can guide the public through the thought process behind their designs.

For those who wish to apply for this initiative, the Council advises shopowners that the following steps should be taken:

1 Send in a photo of your shop or a map (if available). 2 A short note setting out why your shopfront should be included for a free redesign or suggested improvements. 3 Specify whether you see scope for simple improvements or a complete re-design of the shopfront having regard to the likelihood of actually being able to carry out the works should you like the results.

Shopowners can send the relevant details via email to engage@offalycoco.ie or by post to ‘ENGAGE’, Planning Department, Offaly County Council, Áras an Chontae, Charleville Road, County Offaly by close of business on April 8.

The designs will remain the copyright of the architects and any use of the drawings for plan purposes will be a matter between the architect and the client.

A full list of the terms and conditions of this initiative and other official documentation can be obtained by contacting the Planning Department at (057) 93 46800 or by emailing engage@offalycoco.ie

The Council will evaluate the applications and will assign one of the selected shop fronts to each of the participating architects.