The six-storey Guinness Storehouse sits at the heart of the St James’ Gate brewery complex. Originally built in 1904, the former fermentation plant was the first steel-framed building in Ireland. Imagination has converted the 170,000 sq.ft building into a state-of-the-art visitor attraction featuring an immersive Guinness Experience as well as three bars and a retail store. The Irish business community, as well as Guinness’ own staff, are able to use the Guinness Storehouse’s extensive facilities for corporate training and events, while the building’s purpose-built gallery and exhibition area will host an eclectic mix of one-off artistic, musical and cultural events designed to attract a local as well as an international audience. The building is also home to the Guinness Archive, which contains 250 years of brewing and social history.
The emphasis on attracting local visitors as well as the tourist market was a key element of Imagination’s vision for the Guinness Storehouse. The company collaborated with Dublin-based architectural practice Robinson Keefe Devane in the conversion of the building, whose most distinctive feature is its 102ft high atrium, in the shape of a giant pint glass, which runs through all six floors. Its glass cap is overlooked by the roof-top Gravity bar, the highest point in Dublin, whose circular glass walls allow unrivalled 360-degree views over the city.
Visitors to the exhibition element begin their journey by learning more about the four basic ingredients before moving on to fill in details on the man who started it all - Arthur Guinness. Throughout these areas, the team from Imagination, led by lighting designer Kate Wilkins and sound designer John Del Nero, worked to give each area a unique feel. A range of ETC Source Four zooms and profiles, together with Selecon 500W fresnels and Astral zoom spots, have been used in tandem with Crescent fibre optics (HQI projectors), neon and flourescent fixtures to give each area a particular ambience. Control is provided by an Electrosonic Helvar Imagine system with 12 x 12 channel dimmers and five relay modules. A mixture of Bose, EV, Tannoy and Eurotec speakers, together with a number of specially designed NXT flat-panel speakers, form the mainstay of the audio system. These are fed by both Cloud and Crown amplifiers run through a BSS Soundweb.
Kate Wilkins also designed the exterior architectural lighting scheme for the Storehouse. A combination of 240v Sils, IP65-rated bulkheads with LEDs and Thomas Par 56s are used to create a ‘light representation’ of Guinness. Programmed by Electrosonic’s Pete Sarson on a Celco Navigator, the system now runs on the main exhibition AV system through a MIDI control card.