Text description provided by the architects. Since the inception of Hendrick’s Gin 20 years ago, the unusual spirit has been a leader in the gin market. Hendrick’s is well known for its elaborate Victorian-inspired branding and unique rose and cucumber flavor however, until recently, it was lacking a home worthy of its uncompromising commitment to quality and distinctive brand. Michael Laird Architects and the Design Team were commissioned by William Grant and Sons to design a purpose-built distillery. The principle function of the building was to serve as the new iconic home for their eccentric Hendrick’s Gin.
Architecturally the project is a significant departure from anything the distillers have previously undertaken and was designed in conjunction with their brand team to ensure the building epitomizes the quirky branding of the gin. Located on the south-west coast of Scotland, the new distillery is located just a stone’s throw away from the original and doubles the production capacity, whilst also being designed to allow for future expansion. The distillery is formed of four key elements: a Victorian-inspired walled garden which encloses three glasshouses, a central accommodation spine (which houses a bar, lab space and lecture theatre), three individual stillhouses and an external service yard with support facilities for the distillation process.
The main glasshouse is situated centrally within the walled garden and is formed of black brick arches and a Victorian-inspired curved glass roof with intricate steelwork detailing. It is flanked by two smaller glasshouses on either side which house a variety of exotic botanicals. One hothouse contains flora indigenous to a Mediterranean environment such as lemons and oranges, whilst the other has a tropical environment. Together they act as a playground for the head Botanist and creator of Hendrick’s to cultivate and experiment with new expressions of the spirit.
The original copper stills take center stage within the new distillery, located within the central stillhouse whose dark color palette allows the bright copper stills to stand out within their surroundings. This is reinforced by the bespoke, stained-glass oculus that sits directly above the 9m tall Carterhead still, bathing it in light. The Hendrick’s Distillery is about layers of exquisite details, a juxtaposition of old and new with a sense of ambition and innovation inspired by the Victorian era.
The principal design aim was to capture the elaborate brand within the architecture and create a building that was the physical embodiment of the gin. This has been achieved through attention to detail, a simple but rich material and textural palette, depth of concept and an innovative approach to collaborative design. The Gin Palace serves as a platform to allow Hendricks to indoctrinate their brand ambassadors and open their minds to the wonderful world of Hendricks. It also allows them to educate and inspire bartenders about the unique spirit but, most importantly, it gives Hendrick’s a fitting home for their wonderfully eccentric gin.