Macallan Distillery, Scotland

Nestled in the beautiful scenery of Speyside, in the North East of Scotland, the Macallan whiskey distillery recently opened a new production facility and visitor experience. Found on the stunning Easter Elchies estate, the distillery is renowned for its high-quality whiskey which it has been producing on the estate since 1824.

Leading lighting designers Speirs + Major were appointed to deliver the lighting design for the new centre. The new building which houses the new facility and the visitor centre has been designed to blend in with the surrounding environment, while also offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn all the details involved in making this world-class whisky.

The new distillery features a number of production ‘cells’ which are set in a linear formation, with an open plan layout which offers a view of all of the stages of the production process. Other architectural features include the roof which appears as grass covered peaks, while inside, this has been mirrored with an undulating timber ceiling.

Speirs + Major worked closely with the project’s architects to use light to enhance the visitor experience, as well as showcase the beauty of the new building. Lighting also needed to be integrated into each of the displays in the exhibition and gallery area.

Having worked with Architainment Lighting on many projects previously, Speirs + Major commissioned the expert lighting supplier to support their work at the Macallan distillery. Offering a wealth of lighting solutions from a number of carefully selected, market-leading brands, Architainment Lighting was able to fulfil the technology needed to make Speirs + Major’s visionary lighting design a reality.

There are several notable elements of the lighting design, including the coloured lights in the production area which provide visual clues to help tell the story of the whisky distillation process. Meanwhile, a brand wall made of hundreds of illuminated bottles of whisky, create an impressive entrance to the visitor centre.

Lighting control also plays a significant role in the visitor experience, with the dynamic lighting scheme offering two modes. The first is the automated lighting in the production area which sequences throughout the day. The second is a theatrical control system which supports the distillery when running guide-led visitor tours of the plant, with the guide using a tablet to operate a variety of programmed scenes.

Adding a layer of complexity to the lighting design, there was an equally important need to provide lighting which supports the technical demands of a fully operation distillery. By zoning the lights and using the control system, the operational lighting is directed only at the required specific areas at certain times, eliminating any risk of impacting on the dynamic lighting.

Neil Gamble, Architainment Lighting’s Sales Director, said:

“It’s exciting news that Macallan, such as renowned whisky producer, is opening its doors to allow visitors to be fully immersed in the distillery process.

“By providing a number of products from across our portfolio, we’re delighted that we were able to play a part in the project and contribute to what will undoubtedly become a top tourism attraction in Scotland.”

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