Losing €1m a day and making a third of their staff redundant during the pandemic, Dublin Airport bosses still found the funds to fit out a lavish new open-plan office for themselves .
Located across the road from where passengers were queuing outside last weekend, the no-expense-spared office block is a world away from the cramped and dirty surroundings inside T1 and T2. The spacious work accommodation is also a far cry from the holding pens passengers will be herded into if queues get too long this bank holiday weekend.
Nicknamed ‘The DAAcha’ after a posh Russian holiday home, the new headquarters has a boardroom with special switchable smart glass that frosts for privacy at the touch of a button.
The ground floor canteen allows executives to eat cake in comfort while looking across the road at the queues of passengers standing outside the airport.
In the courtyard there is a giant chess board and a ping pong table to let off stress.
A hipster red coffee trailer from Steam & Froth in the front yard provides barista coffee, other hot drinks, wraps and rolls away from the long lines of people looking for something to eat or drink inside the terminals.
The architects – TOT – employed say they “utilised high ceilings and natural light to create a welcoming environment” for DAA staff.
The design of the open-plan desk spaces, collaborative meeting spaces and breakout zones “provides a variety of settings that support a range of postures, presence and privacy”.
“Inspired by movement and travel, the signature wing curve is the defining feature used throughout the design of the interior, from identifying the zoning and planning of the space to feature wall, ceiling and floor details,” TOT says.
The furniture is top end. The Spanish lounge chairs from Valencia are designed “based on the classics of the Bauhaus”, while the desk chairs are “inspired by the physiognomy and movement of sharks” and the armchairs “have clear references to the Scandinavian design tradition”.
The 43,000 square feet of office space across four floors was fitted out last year ahead of the return of staff following lockdown.
Offices are not fully occupied yet as staff alternate between home and the new headquarters.
A noticeboard with writing on it on the first floor shows there is activity, as does a hi-vis jacket draped across a chair.
DAA chief executive Dalton Philips’s corner office looks back across toward Terminal 2 and the runway, and also has a view of the Dublin Mountains in the distance.
The executive offices were previously based in different locations, including the original 1930s modernist terminal building and the 1970s Terminal 1.
The new headquarters brings all the corporate departments together.
As the architects note: “This new interior is the future of DAA; bringing teams together, building relationships and boosting collaboration”.
The Dublin Airport Central office complex was developed by the DAA, which then made itself an anchor tenant.
“There is no better option for your business premises to reside, with access to national and international transport, a beautifully modern work environment and a host of favourable amenities,” the office block marketing material says.
There is no mention of queues.