~ Thomas Heatherwick// Bombay Sapphire Gin at Laverstoke Mill

Fresh from the olympics, the images for an iconic distillery for Bombay Sapphire in Hampshire, to be designed by Heatherwick Studio have been revealed. As always from Heatherwick studio, iconic and inspirational design that looks effortless and fresh. Can't wait to see it on completion.

Thomas Heatherwick has revealed plans for a distillery and visitor centre for gin brand Bombay Sapphire at an abandoned mill in Hampshire, England. Construction has already begun on the site, which will include two curved greenhouses for growing the ten botanical herbs and spices that Bombay Sapphire uses to flavour its spirits. Named Laverstoke Mill, the centre will open a year from now. It will be the first home of the English gin.


The project is a multi-million pound restoration of the historic buildings on a two hectare brown-field site, near the grounds of Laverstoke Park, 60 miles from London which housed one of England’s most significant bank note paper making facilities. The highlight of the complex build is the glass house for Bombay Sapphire gin’s 10 botanicals. The designer previously worked with Kew Gardens cataloguing and curating the genus of UK plantlife for his 'Seed Cathedral' UK pavilion at the Shanghai Expo in 2010.


“As the particular flavours of Bombay Sapphire gin are derived from ten botanicals, the centrepiece of the site is a glass house, within which visitors will experience the specific horticultural specimens infused in the spirit.

The glass house, influenced by Britain’s rich heritage of glass house structures, will be two separate structures providing both a humid environment for spices that originate from the tropics, as well as a dry temperate zone for Mediterranean plants.” Heatherwick



'We are thrilled to have the chance to take this historic site, and turn it from its current derelict state into a new industrial facility with national significance.'
Planning permission was granted in February 2012 and building work is now under way. It is hoped to open in autumn 2013
From Heatherwick Studio:
The gin-maker Bombay Sapphire is constructing the company’s first production facility, which will also be open for members of the public to visit and will become the home of the brand. Formerly a water-powered paper mill, the site currently contains more than forty derelict buildings, many of these are historically significant and will be regenerated and restored as part of the project. One of the original features of the site is the River Test, currently contained within a narrow high-sided concrete channel, is almost invisible. To make sense of this jumbled accumulation, the proposal is to use the river as the organisational device for the new facility. The river’s banks will be opened out and transformed into a route that brings visitors through the site to a new main courtyard at its centre. The widening of the river and the reshaping of its banks will create sloping planted foreshores, making the water visible and valuable once more.
The project brief also included a visitor centre but on exploring the dramatic sculptural forms of the vast copper gin stills, we believed that seeing the authentic distillation process, which follows a method devised in 1761, would make for a more interesting and memorable visitor experience. Because the use of the 10 botanicals in this process pointed us towards Britain’s heritage of botanical glasshouse structures, the project evolved into a proposal for two new glasshouses, one humid, the other dry temperate, that will emerge from the production buildings and sit within the waters of the widened river.


From Bombay Sapphire:

Bombay Sapphire Gin Unveils Plans for “Home of Imagination” in Hampshire, UK

Visionary designer Thomas Heatherwick to restore historic site into distillery and visitor center for iconic gin brand

Bombay Sapphire® gin, unveils plans for its distillery in Laverstoke Mill, Hampshire. The project is a multi-million pound restoration of the historic buildings which housed one of England’s most significant bank note paper making facilities. The design imagined for the site is headed by acclaimed London designer Thomas Heatherwick and his team at Heatherwick Studio. The site will be completely renovated from a derelict mill into a state of the art premium gin distillery and visitor centre encompassing the highest standards in design, functionality and sustainability.

The distillery will be built on a two hectare brown-field site, near the grounds of Laverstoke Park, just 60 miles from London. For 200 years, the site produced high quality paper for the bank notes of India and the British Empire. The site is steeped in natural beauty, astride the crystal clear River Test – and historically associated with producing the finest quality product through the care and skill of those who owned it and worked there. The newly renovated site will be the first opportunity the public has to discover the home of this iconic spirits brand.

The ambition for the project restores the buildings and grounds and its heritage while introducing a new structure that will complement the existing buildings as a showcase of the brand’s intrinsic quality that reflects the aspirations of the Bombay Sapphire brand. The highlight of the complex build is the glass house for Bombay Sapphire gin’s 10 botanicals. As a major feature of Laverstoke Mill, the glass house is a symbol of the brand’s careful, skillful and imaginative approach to gin making.

The 10 year relationship between the brand and Thomas Heatherwick started when he was crowned the inaugural winner of the Bombay Sapphire Prize – an international award for excellence and innovation in glass. Alongside high profile designers he joined the Bombay Sapphire Foundation, which encourages and rewards the very best in contemporary design and glass design in particular. In 2010, he was approached by the Bombay Sapphire team to design the brand home in Laverstoke.

Bombay Sapphire Global Category Director John Burke adds: “It’s a very exciting time for the Bombay Sapphire team, especially now that we’re seeing our plan for Laverstoke Mill come into fruition. With tradition, quality and craftsmanship at the heart of the site’s heritage, we can finally look forward to opening our doors to consumers worldwide and share with them the care, skill and imagination that is infused in the spirit we produce. Bombay Sapphire gin has experienced great success and growth over the last 10 years and with the opening of the brand’s home and consumer experience, we are very optimistic for next decade.”

In February 2012, planning permission to restore Laverstoke was granted and the build process is now underway and managed by Meller Ltd, with a goal the distillery will open its doors in autumn 2013.

Meller Managing Director, Graham Cartledge adds: “Meller is proud to be leading the development of Laverstoke Mill into a world class production facility and unique visitors centre. Our expert team looks forward to delivering this exceptional project in a way that fulfills Bombay Sapphire’s brand aspirations and also the technical requirements of restoring a site with such heritage, environmental consideration and unique design.”

Images courtesy of Heatherwick Studio
Laverstoke Mill