06. Dec 2016

Shilling Brewing Co. brew house in Glasgow/UK

Text: Jo-Eike Vormittag

Photos: James Harris


Beer is produced in different parts of the world, and every beer has its own special golden-brown glow. This is not achieved by adding some kind of chemical concoction, but thanks to the natural ingredients and processes involved in the brewing. In fact, it’s the malt that makes it all possible, and the colour is the result of the length of the drying phase and the temperatures applied. The water source also plays a role in all this. Breweries are well aware of such processes, and the brew house Shilling Brewing Co. in Glasgow have also applied this know-how with skill for the design of their new 150-seat brew house.


The modern beer hall is housed inside the former Commercial Bank of Scotland, which was built in the 1920s. Fortunately in this case, you might dare to say, artificial light was not applied in those days as it is today, which is why the buildings featured large windows to allow as much daylight in as possible. Given the new use of the building, this approach is still valid from a current-day perspective, no matter how endless the opportunities for applying artificial light may be.

The main space, with its unique design, is daylit. In other words: brewed beer is poured into patrons’ bellies while daylight pours through the windows. As much a benefit for the customers as for the architecture. As is the case with beer, the colour and glow stem from natural sources, or rather the interplay of natural sources with the interior or materials and surfaces. Since every sunset is accompanied by a period of twilight, however, a lighting concept for the darker hours of the day was required. And the solution needed to bring out the quality of the “barley juice” and the processes involved in its manufacture. The numerous but relatively discreet ceiling and wall-mounted luminaires provide low-level, soft warm white light. The interior furnishings play a key role in the overall effect: many of the light sources are shielded by dark, brown or bronze coloured metals, and some of the lamp holders have the same ale-like glow as the light. Copper, which crops up a lot in the production of beer, is featured in the spaces in many different forms. This reflects the light, as do other shiny surfaces such as the marble or wood, generating an atmosphere of warmth and cosiness. But the interior design also features some interesting contrasts, where dark matt surfaces are coupled with bright, light-coloured ones. In spite of this striking mix and the discreet use of electric light, it is clearly the typical brown and amber beer-glow tones that determine the mood throughout.


The refurbishment and reutilisation of the building, rich in tradition as it is, harmonises perfectly with the interior design, the product it all revolves around – beer – the colours applied, and the lighting concept. This and the way sunlight is harvested for effect over the day though the large windows indicate that thought was given to how light impacts the space and to creating the right atmosphere for typical patrons. This is not a destination for those looking for a glamour and glitz night on the town, but rather for those seeking calm and comfort with friends and a few glasses of “the real stuff”.



Architecture and design: Jestico + Whiles


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