Archie Rose Distilling Co. opened in Rosebery in March 2015 as Sydney’s newest distillery and bar, and the first independent distillery to open in Sydney since 1853. The name ARCHIE ROSE is emblazoned on the corrugated exterior in supersized letters and perhaps ironically so given ‘Archie,’ for which the bar is named, is the generic alias nineteenth-century bootleggers adopted for anonymity. Rebecca Gross reports.
October 21st, 2015
However, that is where Archie Rose’s anonymity ends having recently been named Best Asia Pacific Bar and Best International Bar at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2015. Sydney design studio Acme & Co. has proven itself once again – as it did for The Incinerator, Willoughby, and The Grounds, Alexandria – as expert in transforming a disused industrial building into a warm, inviting and character-filled space.
Archie Rose founder Will Edwards commissioned Acme & Co. to fit-out the 550m2 vacant shed at The Cannery for his dedicated distillery and bar that would offer both education and enjoyment. Acme developed a ‘grain to glass’ concept to engage patrons in the industrial production and informed consumption of the product, and translated this vision into the interior architecture and design of Archie Rose with a pervading sense of transparency and spatial flow that mimics the ‘grain to glass’ concept. The entrance opens to a meshed passageway that dissolves into the distillery’s stainless steel tanks and copper equipment to the right, and the bar’s stacked oak-aging barrels to the left; a mezzanine above and behind the bar overlooks the entire space with views that trace the full ‘grain to glass’ concept.
The crafted experience is matched by a level of craftsmanship that sees all elements of the project custom designed by Acme & Co. and built by Calida Projects. Acme reused and adapted materials from the existing structure and complemented them with a “material language that references the beauty of the distillation process” and “accrues attractive patinas,” says Vince Alafaci of Acme. The result is an intimate and atmospheric bar despite its industrial surrounds. Raw surfaces form the surrounds of the bar with a smooth concrete floor edged by the corrugated iron shed, a textured brick wall and a backdrop of American oak. Joinery and furniture in charred American oak are derived from whisky barrels while the hand-formed bar is made from the same copper as the Tasmanian-crafted pot stills. Barrel-shaped booths, copper bar accoutrements and bespoke lighting and signage add to the warm, subdued and golden tones of the bar.
Through adaptive reuse and the transformation of the unremarkable into the remarkable, Archie Rose is almost surreal. Outside, the architectural integrity of the industrial shed has been retained with respect to its industrial environs, while inside, Archie Rose looks and feels like a world unto itself.
Acme & Co. project team: Vince Alafaci [architect], Caroline Choker [interior designer], Alyssa Esguerra [interior designer]
Photographs by Murray Fredericks, courtesy of Acme & Co.
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