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Building on a Legacy of Innovation: Designing for William Grant and Sons in the Philippines

Building on a Legacy of Innovation: Designing for William Grant and Sons in the Philippines

by Darwin Masacupan

We create legacies. 

That is the proud call-to-arms of William Grant & Sons Ltd., an independent, family-owned distillers with a global reach. Established in 1887 by William Grant and now run by his descendants, the proudly Scottish company creates some of the world’s most iconic Scotch whiskey and other spirits.

True to its pioneering spirit, William Grant and Sons wants to tell more of its stories in the Philippines. This is what brought Paperspace into the picture—the company’s desire for an office with innovation and legacy in its DNA. 

A Worthy Location

William Grant & Sons doesn’t have a branch in the Philippines, so all in-country orders are directly transacted with its Singapore base. But seeing opportunities for further growth in Manila, the company decided to outfit a local office. 

“Spencer Ty, their country distribution manager, inquired through our co-working space, Paperwork. We got in touch and then we set up a meeting with him,” recalled Karen Calalec, Paperspace Philippines Project Director. 

Located in Bel-Air, Makati City, William Grant and & Sons’ office is not your ordinary place of business.  It is nestled right at the edge of the country’s most posh residential areas and the hippest pubs and restaurants. 

This unique location serves as its business strategy plan. The office is leveraged as a venue for distributors to present to their clients, as well as to meet and train bartenders on using the William Grant and Sons line of products. 

Craftsmanship and Gravitas

Paperspace was excited by the possibilities offered by the project. Seeing its compact and cozy setup, the team went for an industrial theme. They accomplished this by mixing different textures of wood, metal, cement, and brick. The existing ceiling was removed, as the team decided to utilize the existing structure with trussing. This decision helped the overall look of the place to align more fully with its industrial theme. 

The bar, where the magic of mixing happens, became the overall focal point in the design concept. It was inspired by the Japanese technique called Shou Sugi Ban which is done by burning wood, then brushing and sealing it with oil for preservation. The bar counter thus lent a subdued atmosphere to the area, allowing emphasis to be given to the spirits stockpiled in it. 

The work desk, on the other hand, is a unique feat. It was custom designed by Paperspace specifically for the project—an excellent piece of craftsmanship with thick wood on top and solid metal legs.     

Another highlight is the console located at the lounge. The cabinet with antique patina finish came from India and looks like it is made of 100 percent metal, but it is wood throughout. The console—the most expensive piece of accent furniture in the whole project—brings a certain kind of gravitas to the seating area. 

For the conference room, Paperspace placed a layering of upcycled wood planks outside to emphasize this particular area. The elevated wood texture was achieved by sourcing the used planks from existing old houses across various locations. 

Going Big

“Having Spencer as our client was a big help, given his sophisticated taste in design. He immediately took a liking to our initial proposal, allowing us to proceed immediately with our work,” Calalec said.

“This is what I always tell my team—once we commit to something, we do it well,” Calalec noted. “I am proud that we were able to go big on all aspects of the project, from construction to fabrication to sourcing.”

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