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Insights — Q&A

Empowering Women in Architecture and Construction in Europe

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Inspired by history and how the built environment shapes and influences peoples’ lives, Anna Labianca, Senior Architect in our Dublin Studio, reveres preserving and modernizing existing buildings and creating efficient and functional spaces where people thrive. Her team recently completed two renovation fit-outs for Paul Sheeran Jewellers in Dublin, overseeing design, coordination, and documentation. Shortlisted for the 2024 Women in Construction Awards in Ireland, she is distinguished not only for architecture and design but also for her exceptional achievements in the construction sector. In this Q&A, we explore Anna’s vast knowledge and experience in designing buildings and interiors spaces throughout Europe.

Anna successfully manages to liaise amongst a diverse mix of Italian and Spanish shop fitters as she is fluent in both languages. Anna is composed, diligent and clear with expectations for all design team members, ultimately delivering an exceptional product.

Maurice O’Neill, Principal — Dublin office

You have an impressive breadth of experience in construction, architecture, and interiors. Tell us about your background and experience.

I am originally from Milan and in my 23-year-long career I’ve served as an architect, interior designer, and project manager for clients in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Barcelona, and Dublin with a focus on repurposing retail, multi-family, and commercial projects. I’ve worked for several architect firms, and in 2016 I opened my own design studio. I joined Corgan nearly two years ago and find the people and culture so incredibly supportive and knowledgeable, it’s a joy coming to work every day.

Some of my projects include the restoration and retrofits for multi-family apartment developers as well as for Estée Lauder Le Labo Luxury Perfumeries Shop, Desigual women’s clothing stores, Multiópticas Stores, and several Lavazza Coffee Shops in Spain. In Dublin, my projects include the South Dublin County Council Headquarters and Deustche Bank office fit-outs, and our team most recently completed space renovation and interior design commissioned by Paul Sheeranthe first retail store of its kind in Europe.

watch boutique

We worked closely with Paul Sheeran along with eight individual watch brand identities. The challenge was coordinating communication with each brands’ design team and providing the strategy and documentation to ensure a clear and accurate exchange of information with each client spread across the U.K. and Europe, with the majority based in France, Germany, and Switzerland.


What were the design challenges in bringing eight brands under one roof?

Due to the complex nature and high-end level of services, it was necessary to provide meticulous and rigorous coordination to ensure there were no clashes or errors. The success of the project involved not only close collaboration with design representatives from each brand, but also interfacing with city officials and navigating complicated city permits and code compliance regulations throughout the pre- construction, design execution, and delivery phases.

One of the challenges was operating within a limited timeframe during the holiday season which posed supply chain issues, sourcing materials and labour, and making deliveries on time in a strained economic climate. Thanks to the partnership with the city and general contractor, our team successfully completed the fast-paced project in time for the Christmas shopping season. Corgan exceeded client expectations across all watch brands, delivering the programme on time and within budget, adding a welcome addition and anchor in Dublin’s city centre.

You’ve repurposed quite a few existing buildings. What drives your passion for restoration and sustainability?

I am passionate about repurposing and renovating historic buildings—not only to honor designers who have come before us but to offer a more sustainable and eco-friendly design solution that preserves our proud history and conserves our natural resources and environment for a better future.

Mont Blanc Interior

Tell us about the existing building your team repurposed for Montblanc. 

Located in the same city centre down the street in a historic building, Corgan designed a separate standalone boutique for Montblanc, adding to the prestigious Paul Sheeran retail line. The project was conducted in tandem with the larger retail space and entailed repurposing and renovating a protected historic building, transforming it into a modern, functional, and welcoming retail space to invite shoppers into the store. Due to the delicate nature of the premises and historic conservation, our team managed a great deal of coordination between the owner, the city, and the designers during pre-construction.

As the appointed architect, we collaborated closely with Dublin County Council Building Authorities along with Paul Sheeran and Montblanc designers to embody the client’s unique vision while honoring the building’s distinctive aesthetic, all within the constraints of a protected structure in the heart of the historic neighborhood.

Mont Blanc-1

The design maintained the integrity of the existing interior fit-out with best practices for historic preservation and sustainability. While working in close collaboration with the contractor to implement the brand vision, our team followed regulation and compliance standards respecting the historical value of the building. Materials were carefully sourced and considered before construction and the design concept included the monitoring of heating, cooling, and lighting.


Anna Labianca saved my life!! :-)

Anna is the most fantastic project manager—always available, always listening, always understanding, always on site, and on time —when necessary, she is a problem solver who massively contributed to our store opening in style and was a great addition to our team—and ready with a smile! 

Paul Sheeran, Owner of Sheeran Jewellers

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