abgc architecture
architecture & design

Forno 500


Dating from 1750 and built originally as a family home this building has been in commercial use since at least 1860 and the ground and basement in restaurant use for decades, most recently as Frere Jacques. The building, much adapted, was constructed in 2 phases with the 2nd phase, possibly 19th C, consisting of a 3 storey block immediately to rear of the original four-storey over basement house. The project involved overhauling this rear block to provide a more simplified layout, safer access and contemporary services. Work included the removal of some of the more egregious contemporary additions while all historic materials were maintained and conserved and work was done to restore missing sections to the historic staircase to the ‘main house’.

The restaurant which takes up the entire ground level and first floor to the rear has achieved Associazione Verace Pizza Napolitana designation for its pizza, one 700 accredited in the world and the only in Ireland. The layout is organised liner front to back with the pizza oven and kitchen full glazed to the dining area for maximum theatre. Our client travelled to italy to persuade a team of Neopolitian craftsmen to travel to dublin to build this oven from scratch with their own local materials including Santa Maria bricks from Campania used in the walls and dome, Biscotto di Sorrento for cooking surface and all of this is packed together with mortar made from volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius. A dropped ceiling in gold leaf provides a crisp anchor and navigates the historic plan and changes in ceiling height. Blackened steel, darkly stained mahogany and bespoke lighting from Mullan lighting with some hand painted mural works complete the setting. A second dining space was created at first floor with back up kitchens at basement level to front and second floor to rear.


ABGC – Architecture and Conservation.

John Kaye – Interior Design

Nicky Hooper – Branding and Identity


National Inventory of Architectural Heritage: www.buildingsofireland.ie

Restaurant website: www.forno500.ie

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