The secret of who created the iconic gates at the new Lakes Distillery at Bassenthwaite is out. Crafted in Cumbria, they were produced by well-known bespoke metalwork designer Alan Dawson and coated by Livingstone Surface Treatments near Egremont.
The initial idea for a set of decorative gates came from Lakes Distillery Chairman Nigel Mills who, on a visit to Californian vineyards, admired the elaborate entrance gates featuring vines and grapes. Back in the UK the team worked with their Design Consultants Hedley McEwan to create a video depicting a set of gates that told the story of the distillery.
Paul Currie, Managing Director at the Lakes Distillery said “We spoke to our Architect David Blair at Architects Plus and Ted Slater from our Engineering Consultants Tweddle & Slater – and they recommended Cumbrian bespoke metalworker Alan Dawson as the best person to turn the video concept into reality.
“Alan interpreted the idea and made it buildable. The gates include our logo and depict the ingredients in our products; you’ll spot the grains we use – wheat and barley plus botanical ingredients of the gin: juniper, meadowsweet, angelica, heather and hawthorn.”
“We were so impressed that we commissioned Alan to create a sculpture for our courtyard – it’s a simple, elegant representation of distilling with casks and a still.”
Made from 3/4 tonne of steel, the gates and sculpture were handed over to Livingstone Surface Treatments Ltd who organised the protective and decorative coatings. Alan Dawson has been working with Livingstone’s for almost 25 years – one of their earliest collaborations was the coating for gates at Disney World in Paris, shortly followed by ornate gates for the Tuileries Gardens opposite the Louvres Museum in Paris.
Eddie Blackmore, Director at Livingstone Surface Treatments said “As corrosion engineers, everything we do is about protecting assets, be that for the nuclear industry or for ornate architecture and sculptures. Corrosion costs the UK 3% of the GDP, so it’s important that we get better at protecting metalwork.
The first stage of protection for the gates was to have them galvanised and treated with a mordant solution (a pre-treatment for galvanised steel), followed by two coats of micaceous iron oxide, widely used in highway maintenance and also on the Eifel Tower. This coating was selected by the Architects to give the impression of raw steel. It includes mica flakes suspended in the paint which gives it a more lively finish – and it shows up really well when the sun shines.”
The coatings on the gates are set to stand the test of time, and should not need maintenance until the first malt whisky produced at the Lakes Distillery is a mature 20 years old.
The Lakes Distillery has only been open since December 2014 but already the gates have become iconic. Paul Currie MD at the Lakes Distillery said “The reaction from visitors has been amazing and they love to have their picture taken in front of them. The initial video paved the way for the design, but we were not sure it could be achieved in reality. It’s very gratifying to know they could be produced in Cumbria.
“We met up when the gates were hung and had chance to talk about the detail of production. The technology involved is incredible, they’re not just a simple set of gates, and they’re something special – from all angles.”
For more information about the coating and galvanising services offered by Livingstone Surface Treatments, contact Eddie Blackmore on 01946 841191.