In May last year, a golden, futuristic style building docked at the heart of Media City in Salford Quays. People in the surrounding areas were intrigued by the unusual and eye-catching structure of the new branch of ‘The Alchemist’ – a trendy bar and restaurant chain from Living Ventures, renowned for its unusual and extravagant cocktails.

Designing the surrounding landscaping to complement such an avant-garde building was a challenge. Hardscape reveals how it worked alongside Reid Architects and the Bolton-based construction company, Artez, to supply the best materials for this cutting-edge scheme.

The Brief:
Since the project’s completion, Media City managing director, Stephen Wild, has joked about his original brief to Manchester-based practice Reid Architects, saying it was so vague that it could be summarised as “just do something different and something special.”
Given this creative freedom, Marion Room from Reid Architects explained how the scheme aimed to draw together the different areas of Salford Quays, adding, “we think gold is the perfect colour for The Alchemist.”

Hardscape was tasked with supplying horizontal stone products that would not only complement the gold of the building but also help to draw customers in from the outside.

Materials Used:
Working alongside Reid Architects, Hardscape supplied a variety of Chinese granites for the scheme, including Crystal Black, Royal White and Silver-Grey. The bold range of colours was selected to complement the gold metallic shade used for the main building itself.

On the terrace, just in front of the steps leading into the building, around 150m2 of Crystal Black and Silver-Grey setts were installed. These ever-popular granites provided the flexural strength required to withstand the flow of footfall passing outside the building.
Steps were created using a combination of Crystal Black and Royal White bullnose granite. This matched the kerbs around the building, which were made using the same stone, helping to tie the whole scheme together.

Standout Feature:
The modern style of the steps and paving sits perfectly next to the main building. Simon Potts, managing director of the Alchemist, comments: “It’s our 11th Alchemist but it’s one that we’ve been excited about for a very long time.” The excitement is also shared on Instagram with many visitors sharing their experiences on the social media platform.

A Positive Result:
Truly a standout scheme due to its unique architectural design, only enhanced by the complementary palette of Chinese granite used for the surrounding landscape, supplied by Hardscape.

Mike Banton, managing director of Artez, who oversaw the construction of the whole area, hailed the rapid turnaround achieved on a complex building project that first began onsite in August 2016 and was completed just nine months later.

The client, Stephen Wild was impressed with the final result commenting, “it’s a statement building – it might be small, but it’s perfectly formed!”

Since opening its doors in late August 2017, The Alchemist has created an exciting and quirky vibe to Media City and Salford Quays, while providing a landmark landscape design for the area.

Client Team:

Developer: Media City UK/The Alchemist Architects: Reid Architects/Macaulay Sinclair. Contractors: Artez. Paving materials supplier: Hardscape