Eamon Langton is renowned for his design vision. It’s evident in the details of the Langton House Hotel , Marble City Bar, Bridie’s, and Set Theatre.
Walk in to any of these spaces with fresh eyes and you’ll suddenly notice things you never saw before, from a hand painted light shade to a quirky vintage portrait. He also keeps the business fresh, constantly sourcing new designers, adding new areas of interest and forecasting the next design style long before it hits the High Street.
Langton has now passed on this intricate approach for design to the next generation. All of his children are involved in running the family business, and now his son Conor, who studied Visual Communications in NCAD, has branched out to develop his own design business, ‘Gild & Cage.’
The company, which Conor started with Kilkenny stylist Blanaid Hennessy, already has a number of projects on board, but the first to the finish line was the Front Bar and 67 Bar in the Langton House Hotel.
“I am delighted that Conor and Blanaid took on the redesign of the Front Bar,” said Eamon.
“It needed a facelift for a while, and when I saw their plans for the place, I just knew that they would make it look sensational.”
Conor and Blanaid, or Gild & Cage as they are known, wanted to create a more inviting, brighter space that was stuffed with interest and luxury. They changed everything, from the furniture to the lighting, the bar fronts and counters to the shelving and layout.
“Our business name came from our two design loves – ‘Gild’ for luxury and ‘Cage’ for the industrial style,” Conor explains.
“We wanted the Front Bar to really represent this by mixing plush leather button-back bar stools made in Ireland, with pressed tin tiled bar fronts and brass shelving filled with curiosities found on our buying trips.”
The pair travelled to auction houses and fairs all over Ireland, and also drove to the famous flea markets of Paris to find items to create an eclectic space. They wanted the bar to feel like an explorer’s showroom, with Vanity Fair illustrations sitting alongside vintage taxidermy, model ships and French Memento Domes.
“These domes were some of our most interesting finds - French couples would place the bride’s floral garland on a cushion within after their wedding. Then through the years they would add mementos of important occasions to the cushion, whether it was the birth of a child or a SIlver Anniversary,” said Blanaid.
Blanaid and Conor were also able to put their own commercial experience to use alongside their design skills. Conor has worked in Langtons for 15 years, while Blanaid runs a vintage store, Shutterbug, on Patrick Street.
“I do think our own bar, restaurant and retail experience has proved pretty invaluable to our Gild & Cage projects – we aim to think like the designer, the client and the customer in all aspects, from visual to timeframe to budgets,” Blanaid s aid.
“We feel fortunate to have such a trustworthy and hard-working team around us. So alongside our suppliers and tradespeople, we were able to turn around the Langtons Front bar and 67 Bar in three days!”
It wasn’t just the design that improved, Eamon and Conor also undertook a huge overhaul of the sound system and layout to allow for a better music experience.
“We definitely wanted to make sure the space was inviting for new customers, but also familiar and improved for the regular diners and socialisers,” said Conor.
“We’ve added a layout that is easily adjusted to cater for all numbers, and after a lot of research, we invested in a new state of the art BOSE sound system. We feel it will deliver better quality and clarity of sound for any occasion.”
“I am delighted that the new space is now more compatible with live music,” he said.
“We now have an excellent sound system whether it’s for our nightly Irish traditional act “Keltic Kats’ or special guests such as Two Time Polka who play here this Friday, August 16. The new sound system is also used by our resident house DJs Mark Collins on Friday and Kevin Hennessy on Saturdays.”
Changing the new 67 bar has also given Langtons an opportunity to introduce a dedicated cocktail area. Every weekend they have a cocktail waiter stationed at both ends of the 67 bar.
“Producing high-end cocktails was something we have always wanted to achieve, and now we can,” says Eamon.
“We have even designed our new cocktail menu around the feel of the newly-revamped bar, featuring the vintage-inspired Elderflower Caipirinha, the luxury of four different types of Daiquiri, and the interest of the Ginger ‘n’ Spice which has a little kick!”
The Front Bar and 67 Bar on John St Kilkenny are now open, with the new design, cocktail menu and bars, sound and style already proving a huge hit with new and regular customers.
For more on Langtons see www.langtons.ie or call 056-7765133. For more on Gild & Cage visit www.gildandcage.com or call 056-7703312.