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Diageo The Alchemy Bar, London Headquarters

Diageo, a global leader in the alcohol industry, opened The Alchemy Bar in its London Headquarters in August 2014 following a six month project.

Works began on site in January 2014 and saw the former meeting rooms in Diageo’s London HQ transformed into a multifunctional, atmospheric bar.

Premier Hospitality caught up with Mick Nash, the Managing Director of creative agency Sedley Place, to find out more about the project. Mick commented:

“It was enormously important to us to be involved with Diageo as they are the biggest drinks company in the world. It was great to be asked to create the most important bar in the eyes of that company.

“Diageo appointed us as they wanted to achieve a best in class bar in their own building for visitors and customers. They wanted to use the space to show off their products, as well as achieve a collaborative environment for their staff to work in. It needed to be multifunctional to be used for meetings, demonstrations and social occasions in the evenings.

“Diageo also wanted it to be somewhere they could showcase their world class bar training and cocktail making skills. The firm also wanted us to link the bar space up with The Brand Store retail space we created in the same building the year before.”

Works commenced on site in January with Sedley Place working alongside main contractor BWI to transform the ground floor of the building. The six storey building in London’s Park Royal is home to 800 staff and is embracing a very strong collaborative work ethic in everything they do.

The Alchemy needed to be a place suitable for social, evening events as well as a functional working space in the day that could be used for meetings, an educational space and a place for visitors to enjoy. The space, which lies on the ground floor of the building, is situated just off the reception space so visitors to the building see it immediately as they enter.

The works involved a complete strip out of the former meeting rooms and a complete reengineering of the space from scratch. New air conditioning, plumbing and electrical services were installed as were numerous signature features including an impressive ribbon shaped bar in the centre of the space.

The main bar has been designed to have many curves and turns so that it creates activity spaces within the bar to aid the use of the room as a learning facility as well as a social environment. The flowing space is enhanced by the choice of materials used for the bar which were all linked to the theme of liquidity.

The bar itself is made out of lava rock and is coloured to evoke thoughts of the earth and fire. The back has been made up of illuminated glass patterned with sand pattern running through it and the back lighting lets off blueish hues to the space adding to the earthy, fiery feel.

The front of the bar has been completed with a flowing lava effect finish which looks as if it is pouring over the front of the bar surface. Despite the impressive nature of the bar it did cause the onsite team a few logistical challenges as it was the first time anyone has produced a bar as large as it was out of lava rock.

Mick added:

“The lighting has been very carefully designed because Diageo take pride in lighting their bottles and so we wanted to light them well. However we did not want to light the space too heavily and kill the atmosphere so we micro-spotlighted the products so the lighting can be adjusted.”

The bar comprises four main territories in the north, south, east and west parts. The north space boasts a Nordic theme, a western American theme can be found in the western part of the venue and the south area contains a colourful South African feel. The eastern area contains many Thai and Chinese inspired items creating a quirky, interesting environment to visit.

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