Dublin City Council has told toy giant Lego that it cannot proceed with significant features of its planned new facade to its first ever Irish store.
Earlier this year, the Danish family owned company announced plans for its first Irish store on Dublin’s Grafton Street.
The new store – previously occupied by Topman – is to feature Lego’s new retail platform which blends physical and digital experiences in an immersive way, and also allow shoppers to create personalised products.
In March, Lego Ireland Ltd lodged plans with the Council to overhaul the shopfront on 41 Grafton Street and the Council has now given the plan the go-ahead for the works in time for the store’s planned summer opening.
However, the planning authority has vetoed significant elements of the scheme.
In its decision, the Council has told the toy giant to omit the planned mock Lego cladding on the shopfront and to also omit two illuminated cinema boxes.
The planning report stated that “the size, materials and location of the ‘Lego’ signage is appropriate on the fascia", however, “there are serious reservations” about the proposed mock Lego brick cladding to the entrance.
The Council stated that “such an intervention would not complement or harmonise with the architectural character of the existing building or the streetscape, would be visually obtrusive and would set an undesirable precedent for similar type development”.
Concerning the two cinema signage lightboxes, the Council planner stated that they “are not considered acceptable”.
The planner’s report stated that it is the Council’s view “that these illuminated new fascia panels add unnecessary clutter along the streetscape, would be visually obtrusive and set an undesirable precedent for this type of signage within the Grafton Street Architectural Conservation Area and the Scheme of Special Planning Control for Grafton Street”.
The Council’s planning report however concluded that overall, the Council “welcomes the continued use and modernisation of the front facade of this building which will contribute positively to the area and animation of Grafton Street”.
Architect for Lego Ireland's shopfront proposal, Tim Chapman Architects of Sallins, Co Kildare told the Council that the proposed works “will repair a badly worn existing shopfront”.
Mr Chapman stated that “the re-faced fascia will enhance the streetscape and provide an element of colour within the existing shopfront set up”.
Last year, Lego sales increased by 27 per cent to 55.3 billion Danish kroners (€7.45 billion) after opening 165 new Lego stores last year, most of them in China, bringing the total number of Lego branded stores to 832 worldwide.