Irish cottage style meets Nordic minimalism

Greater flexibility and more space were high on the agenda for the popular Aarhus pub Tir Na Nóg when the owner was given the opportunity to extend the premises. Thanks to a successful new interpretation of the classic Irish pub, both have been achieved.

Troldtekt, Tri Na Nog, Aarhus
Photo: Tommy Kosior, Troldtekt A/S

The Irish pub Tir Na Nóg in the heart of Aarhus has been a popular venue for a night out for 13 years. However, long opening hours and the fact that the pub is often packed with guests made it difficult for the owner, Andreas Ruignok, to realise his desire to show major sports games on a big screen or hold special events such as whiskey tastings and lectures. When the neighbouring building was put up for sale – and the planning permission was in place – Andreas Ruignok therefore embarked on the project of tripling the floor space of his beloved pub.

Two identities under the same name

Only very small changes have been made to the old part of the pub. The facade of the building has been renovated and the building renamed 'The Tap Room'. Inside, the classic interior has been preserved with whiskey barrels on the floor and souvenirs on the walls – taken over from a closed pub in Ireland.

The neighbouring building, however, has undergone a large transformation. The 300+ square metre 'Merchant Room' has been designed to ensure flexibility in order to be able to switch between day and night activities. A heavy velour carpet hanging from the ceiling adds a pleasant atmosphere to the room and makes it possible to use the room for different functions. The front part of the room houses a café and a barber's shop in the daytime and transforms into a bar and nightclub in the evening. In addition, the room can now also accommodate large events and a big screen.

Soul of the old pub preserved

Efforts have clearly been made to add the right combination of old-school pub atmosphere and Nordic simplicity to the room. The interior is kept in warm and dark colours to create a contrast against the modern concrete floor, and the stained oak tree of the custom-built bar and the furniture fits perfectly in with the burnished brass and powder-coated steel details.

- 'The Merchant Room' is a new interpretation of the classic pub. We have tried to preserve the soul of Tir Na Nóg, but at the same time this part of the pub has a more high-end feel to it, says architect Mikkel Lang Mikkelsen, who was in charge of the refurbishment.

Focus on structure and sensuality

In order to comply with official requirements for sound and fire protection, the walls have been constructed with two layers of gypsum fibreboard. This posed a challenge to the architect – how to create an 'old-school feel' in a room surrounded by new, white walls?

- We started to work with surfaces, structure and light to see how we could add some tactility to the room. Together with the painting company Boligmaleren, we arrived at an exciting solution where a coarse mortar was applied to the walls in a way which offers interesting twists, says Mikkel Long Mikkelsen, and adds:

- The great thing is that it also goes really well with the structure of the Troldtekt cement-bonded wood wool panels.

A simple choice

Troldtekt panels have been installed in the ceilings in large parts of the newly refurbished premises to ensure good acoustics when different activities take place at the same time in the bar, the café and sometimes also on the small stage. Behind a wooden panelled door, which can only be opened with a special access card, is a 'secret' room intended for private events such as bachelor parties and whiskey tastings. The anthracite grey Troldtekt panels contribute to an intimate atmosphere in the VIP room where lots of stained oak, leather and an entire wall with luxury whiskeys has 'men's lounge' written all over it.

For Mikkel Long Mikkelsen, the choice of ceiling panels was a simple one.

- It is difficult to find a product which can compete with Troldtekt in terms of acoustic properties. And it also goes hand in hand with wood being the recurring material. We thought about how we could add a more exclusive look to the panels, and the solution with oak strips at the joints works perfectly, he says.

- We chose 60 cm panels to match the modules of our whiskey shelf. This means that the strips are aligned with the side pieces of the shelf, creating a harmonious look, says the architect, who is looking forward to both regulars and new guests really embracing the new facilities.