Projects Banner Image

Teaming up with Johnnie Walker

Fancy a dram? Head to Gray & Dick’s latest high profile project in Edinburgh, the Johnnie Walker Princes Street Visitor Experience.

Finest Scotch: Gray & Dick team up with Johnnie Walker

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet news article image

Fancy a dram? Head to Gray & Dick’s latest high profile project in Edinburgh, the Johnnie Walker Princes Street Visitor Experience, where you can enjoy a snifter of the brand’s premium whisky along with a side of seriously stunning architecture.

The eight storey Visitor Experience was four years and £185 million in the making, and we were delighted to be on hand to provide our award winning engineering expertise when it came to creating the building’s extraordinary rooftop bar, 1820.

1820 rooftop bar
The 1820 bar is the jewel in the crown of an extremely careful, considered renovation; respectful to both the vibrant history of the building, which is a former department store, and the Johnnie Walker brand’s storied past. The aim for the bar was to create a clean, contemporary aesthetic with timeless appeal. Lead architects Simpson & Brown and contractors BAM knew that making a statement on the top floor could be a whisky business, so they got Gray & Dick involved, tasking us with designing the Rimex metal cladding that covers the roofline, external walls and pillars.

   Johnnie Walker Princes Street 1820 bar      

The result is a resounding success: the walls are clad with panels of sleek, smooth bronze-tone stainless steel, while the roof features intricate perforations that reference Johnnie Walker’s historic label design. To make the effect even more striking, the cut-out cladding is backlit at night, creating a dramatic atmosphere. It’s the perfect backdrop to take in Edinburgh’s amazing skyline along with dishes from the Scottish-inspired menu and a whisky cocktail or two. 

This was an incredibly exciting project, in part due to the sheer scale of work required. In total, we used 3.75 tonnes of AISI 316 grade 7GM INCO Bronze 1.5mm stainless steel to clad the walls, pillars and roof. Rimex’s INCO range offers a fantastic spectrum of coloured finishes to choose from, and when the sun catches this lightly burnished bronze, it replicates the amber colour of our favourite single malt. It ties in elegantly with the other materials used in the bar, and is offset particularly well by the greenery in the border planters.

   Rimex cladding by Gray and Dick     1820 bar at Johnnie Walker, Edinburgh

Environmentally friendly cladding
To keep the project as environmentally friendly as possible, 85% of the steel used in the cladding was recycled, with the other 15% made up of other ores and minerals. Of course, using stainless steel itself is an architecturally eco move; being completely recyclable, it can be regenerated after use with no impact on its integrity. That’s a long way off, however; this project has a long, illustrious future, given 316 stainless steel’s extremely long lifespan and high corrosion resistance. We anticipate that, just like a fine whisky, it will get better with age; the panels will develop a rich patina over time.

So next time you’re in Edinburgh, why not take the elevator up to the eighth floor of the Johnnie Walker Visitor Experience? We think you’ll find it pretty neat

Our services
Gray & Dick is the market leader in the design, supply and installation of high-end structural glazing. With more than 40 years’ experience, we partner with the best brands to deliver a long-lasting product that will transform commercial properties.

To find out more about structural glazing from Gray & Dick, call us on 0141 952 9619 or send us a message via our website contact page.


Back to News