Benholm Group were tasked with creating an immersive, full-sensory ‘journey of flavour’ using our creative planting expertise at the award-winning Johnnie Walker Princes Street whisky visitor experience in Edinburgh.
Set over 71,500 square feet, over eight floors, and costing an unprecedented £185 million, Johnnie Walker Princes Street uses world-first technology to reimagine the traditional whisky tour experience. They celebrate Scotland’s remarkable heritage, whisky-makers, and look to the future by engaging new generations from around the world in the magic of Scotch whisky.
Benholm Group were asked to use our professional planting creativity to add a unique feature to the new journey of flavour room at Johnnie Walker Princes Street making it as attractive as possible to visitors.
“Benholm Group were an integral partner in the creation of the “Landscape of Flavour” floral installation at Johnnie Walker Princes Street.
Their knowledge and research of local flora and fauna ensured an authentic portrayal of the unique landscapes of the Johnnie Walker “Four Corners” distilleries. This installation presented a unique challenge in integrating lighting and AV, hidden access panels, and scenic elements, all while being suspended upside-down from the ceiling.
Benholm’s design collaboration and top-quality fabrication helped create a breath-taking tour moment that guests rave about. I hope to get the chance to work with them again!”
– J. Nathan Evans, Show Set Designer and Art Director, BRC Imagination Arts
This was a truly original design brief from Johnnie Walker and gave us the chance to really stretch our planting creativity, as well as our local plant knowledge, on their amazing project. Our talented team created a totally bespoke ceiling mounted display made up of 4 quadrants; with each quadrant representing the flavours from a ‘corner’ of Scotland to create a sensory experience based on the landscape that each specific whisky originates from.
Finding the exact flower and foliage types that originate from each region of Scotland proved to be a challenge, but through our dedication we managed to match each of the main flower and foliage types.
The first step of the project was to source the foliage for each quadrant. This required a lot of research into the surrounding landscape for each ‘corner’, including visits to each region to research first-hand the plant and floral beauties which characterise each area. Once we had identified the main plants and flowers that we knew would immediately transport the viewer into the region, we searched ruthlessly until we had found the highest quality faux reproductions to make up our landscapes.
Part-way through the project, the design plan evolved further to include ‘sea’ on the Caol Ila Coastal quadrant – as a plant and floral supplier, making a ‘sea’ was a daunting prospect, but through much research into resin pouring, painting and searching for ‘wave material’, we succeeded in creating a beautiful seaside on the Coastal quadrant which even includes real sand sourced from Islay itself – proving our creativity by venturing into unknown waters!
We approached the project after much careful planning! We had detailed visuals set out for each product, trialled each aspect of the production e.g., the resin pouring, fixing of the foliage, planned and ordered all materials likely to be used, and created a time plan for each quadrant which we stuck to.
Creativity was at the core of all our work on this project. Working alongside design and production company BRC Imagination Arts, Benholm Group provided all the plant and floral information, sourced all the materials that would go into recreating the sensory landscapes, and meticulously researched every aspect of each quadrant to ensure that each landscape would contain every sensory detail that characterises the place, and the whisky.
Each quadrant had a colour scheme and many textural elements, not to mention the practical thinking that went into every aspect, namely, the fixing of the foliage onto each panel to ensure it was secure once hung upside down from the ceiling! It was also important to consider how each panel would be viewed once they were turned upside down.
Every quadrant was built by hand by our amazing team here at Benholm, beginning with layer of preserved Nordik Moss to ensure a natural ‘undergrowth’ effect, then with carefully hand-crafted elements characteristic of each region such as faux mountains and rocks, then finally, the carefully chosen foliage and flowers which were added stem by stem to create visually stunning pops of coastal colour.
The actual installation of the panels onto the ceiling was undertaken by BRC Imagination Arts themselves, so we ensured each quadrant was fully completed and secure by testing each panel upside down in advance. Once the quadrants were fixed onto the ceiling, our specialist Maintenance Technicians visited the site to ensure the finishing touches were simply perfect and gave the best visionary experience from underneath this extraordinary, beautiful creation.
Benholm created a huge amount for this project – pushing the boundaries of the design brief to create a statement ‘four quadrants’ display containing botanicals from across Scotland that are distilled into each bottle of Johnnie Walker whisky. It truly is a journey of flavour and discovery at this fantastic and exciting venue!
Our talented team created this extremely creative and totally unique, upside-down, flagship feature which entices customers into the newly refurbished space and encourages them to enjoy the natural splendour inside as well as out. It has been an exciting journey with incredible design and intricate detail throughout.
Benholm Group also installed lush greenery to enhance customer enjoyment at The 1820 Rooftop Bar at Johnnie Walker Princes Street including a large living wall with integrated illuminated signage, bespoke wooden planters filled with lush flowers and many potted plants throughout.
Visitor experience created, developed and produced by BRC Imagination Arts, brcweb.com
This very high-profile project really highlights how creative and talented our team at Benholm are and Johnnie Walker Princes Street truly is an amazing, must-see attraction.