Clones, a border town in Ireland, a small knot on the edge of a greater Irish fabric. Nowadays just a pass-by route for regular commuters, yet everything for the locals. When visiting Clones, one could not miss the tightly knit community. What one does not see at first sight is the lace embedded in the place, which becomes thus the main driving force of the project.
The focal point of the lace/place scheme is the opportunity sought to mend the broken, the void, the rupture through the use of Clones lace. The proposal extends beyond the actual making of the lace to flax fields, where acquired flax fibres can then be used to make linen thread – a persistent Irish tradition throughout time.
The new arrangement of the site consists of a sequence of spaces – barns, workshops, and cottages. Drawing inspiration from lace making originally being a cottage industry, a live-work strategy is proposed, addressing social, economic and residential issues. The aim of the scheme is to revive the native craft, as well as to positively impact the local economy. A total of 39 people could be employed through the scheme.
The spatial qualities resemble the simplicity and intricacy of lace – white simple volumes, interwoven with each other through carefully positioned openings, both windows and doors, laced together with the landscape through the provision of direct views towards the flax fields and through the change of levels for the different spaces and the sloping of the roofs correlating with the topography of the site.
Lace place thus ties the knot. It seeks to address and mend the current issues present in the town’s fabric through a craft that stemmed in times of despair. Lace place turns the ruinous void of waste into a knot of value. Purpose and intent is given to the community through the mundane yet exceptional, the simple yet intricate.
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