Facing the future: the Dublin Fruit and Vegetable Market

Continuing our series of films about the unique and thriving area of Dublin surrounding our Capel Street home, we spoke to just a few of the people whose lives have revolved around the world of the Dublin Fruit and Vegetable Market, as it faces into an as yet unknown future, and we asked M.CO associate director and architect Chris O’Keeffe to share his thoughts on this historic space in the heart of the city.

“I first encountered Dublin’s Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market while studying architecture. 

Our visit there was deliberate, the building chosen as a lesson in structural beauty by one of our professors. For most first time visitors however, I imagine the experience is a little more serendipitous. Hidden away unassumingly behind Capel Street, the building is obscured for much of the day by the hustle and bustle of the forklifts and shipping pallets that call it home. But that’s part of the building’s beauty. It has ever been subservient to the activity of trade. Ornate cast-iron grilles ensure adequate ventilation, the elegant steel structure provides flexibility to the space, and even the decorative terracotta corbels pay homage to the goods contained within.

The M.CO offices on Capel Street overlook the Market building, and we avail of their fruit and flowers daily. The Market has also inspired our neighbours, such as Arran Street East, who reference the markets in the glazes of their signature pottery range. When they approached us to create a new home for them opposite the Fruit and Vegetable Market, our first move was to draw on the rich material palette of the market building, reinterpreting these materials to reflect the clean minimalist identity of the homewares brand.

The building has given of itself quietly and proudly in the service of Dubliners for over 120 years. Though its role in the life of the city will no doubt change in the near future, it is our hope that the rich heritage, characters and stories of its past will never be lost.”

~ Chris O’Keeffe

See the Markets film below, and watch our Capel Street Stories film here.