The Alchemist, Salford Quays, Manchester

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The Alchemist in Manchester is a unique project born of a long-standing discussion between The Alchemist, Peel Holdings (owners of MediaCityUK) and Macaulay Sinclair. It is a bespoke, landmark building located in the heart of the vibrant Media City development in Salford Quays. The building design was developed over several years by Reid Architects in collaboration with Macaulay Sinclair and The Alchemist team.

The considered and dynamic design ethos of The Alchemist is carefully woven into the interior, creating a bold and theatrical drinking and dining environment.

The unique Alchemist flagship space is enveloped within an angular, gold-wrapped façade. Vertical high-level warm oak panelling accentuates the grand double height ceiling, which is punctuated with elegant knurled brass drops of golden light. Views of lustrous copper, bespoke artworks and a decadent 10m long leather upholstered Chesterfield-style sofa are bounced through the space via angled bronze mirrored walls – echoing the unique form of the building itself. Statement light fittings, repurposed vintage oak pieces and striking brass ceiling frames bring warmth and intimacy to the backdrop of a 6m high fully glazed façade.

As if hewn from solid blackened steel, the angles of the building are echoed in the imposing central bar, which wraps through the space and out to the unique cantilevered external terrace. The amber-lit, brass-framed back bar provides the ideal theatrical backdrop to the contemporary mixology of The Alchemist. The sculptural form of the bar flows outside to overlook the Salford Quays basin and across to the Media City complex and Imperial War Museum North.

A multi-level lighting design and control allows the ambience within both restaurant and bar to be dialled down from relaxed daytime dining to late evening self-indulgence – perfectly showcasing the uniquely theatrical drink and food offer of The Alchemist.

In short, original molecular mixology is presented within a stunning showcase building, wrapped in intriguing layers of unconventional elegance.

‘This project offered a unique opportunity to bring the magic of The Alchemist to a unique, bespoke flagship building in the heart of the UK’s north west, which also incorporates the only external waterfront cocktail bar in the whole of the Media City development.

‘It was a complex project, several years in the making. Involvement with the build process from the ground up ensured a smooth fit-out programme, with all anomalies either dealt with or fully understood before starting on-site. It was an involvement process we will continue to seek where feasible.

‘Guided by the extensive design information and the ongoing collaboration with Macaulay Sinclair, the build team delivered a spectacular flagship project, on-time and within budget. It is a result of extensive forward planning and coordination of all disciplines.’ – Matt Pilling, Lead Designer, Macaulay Sinclair

The Alchemist Manchester_Macaulay Sinclair_image credit Laurence Hudghton Photography_Interior 2