The Tasting Rooms

The Tasting Rooms, The Guinness Experience,Dublin,  Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2014

The creation of The Tasting Rooms at the Guinness Experience in Dublin has now been completed, offering visitors a chance to enjoy the iconic drink in an exciting new environment.

Creative lighting design agency Michael Grubb Studio joined forces with design experts Bompass & Parr to create the innovative space.

Premier Hospitality caught up with Michael Grubb, Creative Director of Michael Grubb Studio, to find out more about the project. Michael commented:

“We became involved in this project as we have worked with The Guinness Experience owners Diageo numerous times previously. At my previous company I wrote a lighting mater plan for the whole building with my new practice subsequently being asked to be lighting design guardians for the storehouse. So every time a new project comes along we are asked to work with in-house team, or the appointed design team, to develop a lighting scheme which enriches the visitor experience and enhances the brand.

“During this project we created a lit language which identifies the brand without customers having to look at a logo. We have made the Guinness brand identifiable using light; especially black and white colours, as well as splashes of dramatic light and gold colours.”

The Tasting Rooms, The Guinness Experience,Dublin,  Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2014

The Guinness Experience in Dublin is Ireland’s most visited tourist attraction and has now been enhanced thanks to this project. The seven-storey attraction at St. James’ Gate Brewery now contains The Tasting Rooms leading visitors through a sequence of dramatically lit spaces, heightening all the senses ahead of sampling the Guinness.

Guests begin in a darkened corridor, and progress through a number of spaces, each one different to the previous leading visitors through a rich light, sound and smell-scape. Michael Grubb Studio created an energy efficient lighting scheme within The Tasting Rooms whilst maintaining a dramatic display of both dark and light spaces. The lighting design enables attention to be drawn from the room to presenters when necessary, or to put the spotlight on the drink itself when it comes to the tasting experience.

With regard to the lighting, Michael said:

“The lighting is a very strong aspect of the experience; the idea is to transport people from a fairly strong entrance space into a black tunnel, before moving them into a very bright space. This process constantly erases visitor’s emotions as they move through each space, giving them a clean pallet to experience each new area.”

The project began, in terms of the creative process, in March 2013. Michael Grubb Studio worked alongside Bompass & Parr to design an exciting experience in what was essentially quite a difficult set of infrastructure.

The Tasting Rooms, The Guinness Experience,Dublin,  Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2014


Bompas & Parr was founded in 2007 by Sam Bompas and Harry Parr in 2007. The studio has gained recognition through the creation of various wild and wacky projects including creating an emerald green boating lake on the roof of Selfridges in London and the erection of the world’s first chocolate climbing wall at Alton Towers theme park.

Works began on site in June 2013 with Ireland based main contractors, Brooklyn Engineering Services, at the helm. The venue opened late 2013 and has been an exciting addition to the already popular tourist attraction. Catherine Keegan, Visitor Experience Manager at the Guinness Storehouse, said:

“The unveiling of The Tasting Rooms here in the Guinness Storehouse marks an exciting development into the realms of experiential and sensory tasting innovations.

The Tasting Rooms, The Guinness Experience,Dublin,  Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2014

Following the success of The Tasting Rooms, Michael Grubb Studio are now working on the next phase of projects at the Guinness Storehouse. Such was the success of The Tasting Rooms the project reached the nomination stage in this year’s Restaurant and Bar Design Awards due to its innovative design and lighting concepts. Michael told us that he was overjoyed:

“We were very pleased to be nominated as it is such a different type of project. As a company you are only as good as your client and I think Diageo and the Guinness Experience deserve a massive pat on the back for the brave project. We are delighted to be involved with the whole scheme.”

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