Quirky bar and restaurant chain The Alchemist has really been pushing the limits of commercial interior design lately, and their newest location in MediaCityUK is no exception. Recently landed, the gold-panelled building nicknamed the ‘spaceship’ sets a distinctive silhouette on the Manchester Ship Canal, and offers stunning views of one of the UK’s most impressive metropolitan centres.
Five years in the planning, the Alchemist’s latest venue brings an unexpectedly contemporary and space-age feel to a brand that has been largely built on the dark charm and mystique of the ‘molecular mixology’ image. Though the interior still features plenty of dark wood and leather, the bright gold of the exterior is matched inside with metallic trimming, bringing sparkle and a touch of on-trend drama to the space. With an outdoor bar and enormous windows to boot, the space feels airier; lighter; more casual than other Alchemist locations.
Of course, the exterior, too, is an impressive feat: though the building’s striking gold shell is a daring piece of architectural design, it’s remarkably at home with the aesthetic of MediaCity, and creates a bold and contemporary statement befitting this area of Manchester.
We were nonetheless surprised by how different the MediaCityUK location is to the Alchemist’s other sites. The self-aware moodiness and edge of the Alchemist has always been a part of the brand’s aesthetic, with subtle hints of period and even some steampunk influence. While by no means absent from this newest iteration, we felt that the Alchemist had toned down some of these qualities for the MediaCity location, resulting in a stylish compromise between contemporary design and the Alchemist’s signature rustic-fantasy. What struck us most was just how magical the bar looks at night: there’s really no way to recreate the perfection of the new location’s waterfront setting.
Whether this marks a new direction for their interior style or is simply a one-off intended to match the aesthetic of the building, we can’t wait to see where this exciting brand goes next. One thing’s certain: it’s sure to be impressive.
Find out more about The Alchemist at MediaCityUK here.