Waterford Distillery Website
STUDIO / DESIGNER
Website: John Gavin (Creative Director / Designer), Colm O’Connor (Designer), Leon Murphy (Designer), Marc Daly (Code Development), Caolan Barron (Photography), Crows Nest Films (Film)
Design Challenge and Design Ideas
The provenance of Waterford Distillery’s barley, where, how and by whom it is grown, is key to their entire philosophy. They’ve engaged with 46 Irish farms growing barley on 19 distinct soil types and are the first distillery in the world to do this. The challenge was to illustrate the scale of the project and allow them to identify each farm as it is being distilled. It also needed to illustrate the soil type that each farm was growing on. The barley and the soil combine to give the whisky a distinct flavour, this is a key point of difference for them. It needed to be easy to use as part of the daily routine. We had to allow farms to be added or taken away, and also a solution to ‘highlight’ each farm. This is a permanent installation and would become an iconic symbol of their unique philosophy.
How the brief was fulfilled
We were given a ‘soil association’ survey map of south east Ireland, with each farm scribbled onto it. We needed to interpret this complex information and present it in a focused way. The map was reduced in detail and stylised to highlight separate soil types, each one given a pattern of its own. This gave us the background to plot our farms. We identified a 25m square location in the stills room where the map could be placed. The distillery is a modern space and we wanted it to fit in with the industrial surroundings. We decided on building a framework to hold the considerable weight of 25 individual panels. The gaps between each panel, breaks up the structure and makes them appear to ‘float’ on the wall. Once in position each farm was plotted, using their geographic coordinates, on the map with a magnetic disc. This records both the farmers and farm name and identifies their location. Each disc measures 150mm in diameter and lit up for the duration the farm is being distilled. The area is an explosive risk zone, this ruled out any wiring or electronics in the area. The solution was to source an ultra bright spotlight, which is programmed to focus a beam onto each farms disc as it is being distilled. At the same time their “tag” is hung on the spirit safe* alongside the distiller’s name “tag”. You can share this experience via a high resolution web camera mounted in the still house that follows the new spirit trickling from the spirit safe, identifies the farmer, names the distiller, and shows the very provenance of the barley being distilled – all in real time. The Provenance Map is an everyday reminder of the significance and the scale of their unique barley origin policy. * (this allows the distiller to analyse and manage the spirit coming out of the pot still without coming into contact with the spirit itself)