WATCH: This powerful ad is going viral for its realistic depiction of breastfeeding

Jennifer McShane

Our pick of new-in homeware to bring that spring feeling into your home

Megan Burns

There were so many great small-space ideas in last night’s ‘Home of the Year’

Lauren Heskin

‘My 11-year-old daughter lost a dangerous amount of weight before I realised it was anorexia’


‘First-time fatherhood is like the flicking of a switch. Now you’re not. Now you are.’

Peter Crawley

Make the ultimate comfort food with this chicken and mushroom pie

IMAGE Interiors & Living

The time has come for women to talk about money


Happy news: President Michael D Higgins has a new puppy

Jennifer McShane

This €12 conditioner is like lipgloss for your hair

Holly O'Neill

Image / Living / Interiors

This Róisín Lafferty-designed restaurant in Ballsbridge is an ode to childhood

by Lauren Heskin
21st Oct 2020

It was a basic, double-height empty shell in Ballsbridge, but Róisín Lafferty allowed her imagination to run wild for a new era of restaurant Cinnamon.

See More Photos

 “The brief was to transform it into a dual-function restaurant and takeaway with mezzanine kitchen and to create a space dripping with playfulness and humour, combining multiple functionalities and experiences in a small and compact unit,” explained KLD‘s Róisín Lafferty of the new 185-square-metre Cinnamon restaurant in Ballsbridge. 

But the space didn’t exactly look child-friendly or childlike. Concrete walls, high ceilings, a glass front and exposed wirings and ducts, it leaned much more towards an industrial aesthetic than a cuddly one. “This space could have quickly become a shell of a unit framing bits of furniture,” admits Róisín, and so they decided to make everything bespoke, from the furniture to the light fittings, to ensure it all worked with the brief. 

From the offset, KLD took a playful approach to the design. “There are so many beautiful hospitality designs all over the city but we wanted to create something that looked totally different,” says Roisin. Rather than take inspiration from a place or interior, they decided to look to the work of Róisín’s all-time creative hero, 1960s Danish designer Verner Panton, as well as Cinnamon’s first restaurant in Ranelagh.

Panton’s work is known for his bold block colours, futuristic designs and work in plastics, while the dusty pink interiors and sweet pastries of the Ranelagh outpost informed the colour palette. “We saw this as the next step in the Cinnamon story, the older sister if you like and an opportunity to bring the space to the next level,” she says and they wanted the space to feel light-hearted and childlike, a visual treat.

However, achieving that is no easy feat. Needing to find a balance between building regulations, budgets, service requirements, functionality and the design concept meant that the space had to work as a restaurant and be somewhere you’d comfortably sit and enjoy, not just to look at. “All of the necessary elements have to work to maximise the overall business viability, especially when it comes to hospitality, capacity etc; it’s almost like a slow forming jigsaw that needs to be worked and reworked.”

Deciding to leave the kitchen on the mezzanine level, the front of the space is left open to soak up the double-height ceiling. An ice cream-cloured bar at the front services coffee and takeout while cosier nooks to the rear cater to the dining portion. 

Blending the maroon hue of the Cinnamon logo with the pale pinks of the first two restaurants into a deep rose, they complemented it with a palette of pastels. Using simple shapes like circles and arches on an oversized scale gave the space a dramatic wonderland feel. As Róisín puts it, “This is a space for all ages to enjoy, appealing to your inner child, but with sophistication to it”. KLD outsized all of the accessories, from giant lollipop light fixtures to a double-height wall of a dozen circular mirrors, to create a dreamlike, whimsical feel, while the huge swathes of block colour ground them in a solid reality.

However, through all the complexities of combining structural, functional and fantastical elements, they made the people using the space the centre of the design. “This is a very family-friendly brand so we wanted people to feel comfortable touching and feeling things within the space,” explains Róisín of their selection of tiles and upholstery. “The design encourages that interaction, avoiding being too precious or formal, all materials are hard-wearing and durable whilst being sweet and bright to look at.”

“We wanted to create a series of desirable and light-hearted dining environment that fully encompassed the visitor and made them want to come back,” says Róisín.

Mission accomplished.

Photography by Ruth Maria Murphy

Read more: Inside a modern Wicklow tree house built for family life

Read more: An interior designer’s advice on making dark interiors work

Read more: Inside the studio of Galway artist Finbar McHugh

Also Read

scallop recipe
What to eat tonight: Mimi Thorisson’s sea scallops with cauliflower purée and capers

By Meg Walker

#ShopLocal: The Irish gin we’re stocking up on for Christmas this year

Having a truly great cocktail recipe in your back pocket...


homemade pasta
I made pasta at home and it’s not as complicated as you might think

I’m not sure I’ll ever buy pasta again now that...

By Melanie Mullan

Home of the Year 2021
Inside this Cork new-build, the first finalist for Home of the Year 2021

Known as the "black house", this imposing new home in Co Cork is surprisingly cosy inside, thanks to an eclectic mix of furniture and a strong aesthetic in its owner, David O'Brien.

By Lauren Heskin

Metflix-inspired interiors
Binge-worthy interiors: looks inspired by your favourite Netflix shows

Whether your current obsession is the Regency-era grandeur of Bridgerton...

By Megan Burns

Monica Lewinsky
Monica Lewinsky will soon get to talk of scandal on her terms

It was on this day, January 17th, 1998, when news...

By Jennifer McShane

Homeware pieces for every room if your New Year’s resolution is to be more organised in 2021

Keeping your home more organised is often easier said than...

By Megan Burns

What to eat tonight: 15-minute one-pot vegan linguine with olives, capers and sun-dried tomatoes

Kate Ford's fast and easy one-pot pasta dish is your ultimate midweek dinner – no hassle, no mess, and we'll bet you have every ingredient in your kitchen cupboard already.

By Meg Walker