Kengo Kuma and The Dalmore match uncommon whisky with rarefied design

by Editors Staff

Kengo Kuma is having fun with the perks of his most up-to-date collaboration. ‘Once I grew to become a good friend of The Dalmore, they started to ship me many forms of whisky,’ says Kuma from Edinburgh, in an unique interview with Wallpaper* on 21 October 2022. The acclaimed architect lately attended the launch of The Dalmore Luminary Collection, for which he has created a sculpture to accommodate one of many distillery’s rarest whiskies. 

‘I’ve realized the small variations between every [whisky]. I really feel that whisky and wooden are the identical. Wooden has nice range: even in the identical [species], wooden has a distinct grain and odor. The identical factor occurs with whisky. This collaboration is to indicate the similarities between wooden and whisky.’

Element of The Dalmore 48 12 months Outdated Luminary No.1 Uncommon, of which simply three bottles have been crammed

(Picture credit score: The Dalmore)

The Luminary Collection sees The Dalmore launch a group of ultra-rare single malts from the distillery’s vaults over three years, working with V&A Dundee and a number of the best abilities within the fields of structure and design to current and home the seminal whiskies in the way in which they deserve. First up with the Luminary No.1, 2022 Version are the V&A Dundee’s lead architects, Kuma and his protégé Maurizio Mucciola, who’ve designed the housing and case for the Luminary Collection’ inaugural Uncommon and Collectible whiskies respectively.

‘I’ve been a giant fan of whisky for a very long time,’ continues Kuma. ‘After we began the V&A venture eight years in the past, we regularly got here to Edinburgh and Dundee. Maurizio and I drank whisky rather a lot after work. We perceive the deepness of whisky tradition right here in Scotland, and the way whisky tradition and Scotland relate.’

The Dalmore whisky bottle and case

The Dalmore Luminary No.1 Collectible version housing, designed by Maurizio Mucciola 

(Picture credit score: The Dalmore)

close up of whisky bottle and case detail

Element of The Dalmore Luminary No.1 Collectible version housing, designed by Maurizio Mucciola

(Picture credit score: The Dalmore)

After all, a deep-seated affection and affinity for whisky is one thing that’s shared by Scotland and Japan, however it isn’t the one topic on which the 2 nations take pleasure in an in depth bond. After Japan opened its borders to outdoors commerce within the second half of the nineteenth century, Scottish architects and professors travelled to Tokyo to share their design sensibilities with an keen viewers. 

It’s a shared heritage that Kuma holds expensive, and one which has knowledgeable his work with The Dalmore: ‘Engineering in Japan got here from Scotland. This venture relies on that similarity. instance is Charles Rennie Waterproof coat: he was very a lot impressed by Japan, he interpreted “Japaneseness” into his furnishings. I realized many issues from Waterproof coat and the backwards and forwards relationship between Japanese and Scottish design.’

numbered pieces of wood, part of sculpture in progress

Work in progress for Kengo Kuma’s sculpture for the 48 12 months Outdated Luminary No.1 Uncommon

(Picture credit score: The Dalmore)

Simply three bottles have been full of the Uncommon, a 48-year-old single malt nurtured by grasp distiller Richard Paterson, influenced by Oloroso sherry, classic port and American white oak, and completed in Scottish tay and Japanese oak casks. 

What emerges is a cherry-filled, coffee-roasted dram with a maple chocolate physique and a telltale sherry edge within the orange marmalade and sugar end. It’s a whisky that Kuma responded to right away: ‘With the 48, I really feel as if my physique is floating off the bottom. It goes past liquid. My creativeness is flowing by way of area, and I wished to characterize that sort of feeling on this sculpture.’

detail of wood sculpture by Kengo Kuma for The Dalmore Luminary No.1 Rare whisky

Element of Kengo Kuma’s completed sculpture 

(Picture credit score: The Dalmore)

This flowing area between objects is mirrored within the Uncommon’s housing, comprising 48 hand-crafted diamond-shaped panels of Scottish oak, Japanese oak and polished steel, every panel signifying a yr the whisky waited in its numerous casks earlier than revealing itself to Paterson. A rising variety of distilleries are turning to architects for keen collaborators, and Kuma sees this as a pure step: ‘The whisky enterprise and our enterprise each work with wooden, work with earth and work with local weather,’ he explains. ‘They seem like very completely different jobs, however our method may be very comparable. This collaboration may be very architectural – earlier than we began, I did not assume the venture was structure, however after working collectively, I understood that we’d labored on an architectural venture.

‘They’ve a powerful ardour for the whisky, and we had a powerful ardour for reaching the concept. With out ardour, high quality can’t be achieved.’

Kengo Kuma sketching at desk

(Picture credit score: The Dalmore)

That zeal can be seen within the Luminary Collectible Version, grasp whisky maker Gregg Glass’ 15-year-old contribution to the Collection. Matured in American white oak barrels, the one malt Collectible honours the Japanese artwork of kintsugi – the repairing of damaged ceramics with powdered gold, silver, or platinum – having been completed in virgin ‘kintsugi’ casks constituted of a mix of Japanese oak, American oak and Scottish oak from the banks of the River Tay. Its case, by Maurizio Mucciola, displays Kuma’s geometric housing of the Uncommon.

Maurizio Mucciola

(Picture credit score: The Dalmore)

That is solely the beginning of V&A Dundee’s collaboration with The Dalmore, with a brand new Collection launch to return in every of the following two years. This comparatively fast turnaround belies the years of maturation and experience behind each the whisky and the abilities of its collaborators. ‘What I realized from Richard [Paterson] is that point is critical,’ displays Kuma. ‘We don’t must hurry. With structure initiatives, generally the schedule may be very tight. After completion, the structure begins its ageing course of. It’s the identical as whisky – we must always take our time, not rush. That’s the lesson.’

bottle of whisky

(Picture credit score: The Dalmore)

One bottle of the Luminary No.1 Uncommon with its accompanying sculpture might be accessible at public sale on 16 November 2022 at Sotheby’s London, with bidding now open on-line. A portion of the proceeds might be donated to V&A Dundee. Roughly 15,000 bottles of the Collectible Version might be accessible from a choice of retailers for £250 every.

Supply: Wallpaper

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