X MUSE temple drinking experience designed by formafantasma
Research-based design studio Formafantasma collaborated with new premium vodka brand X MUSE to create the company’s physical flagship at Jupiter Artland, the famous sculpture park located just outside Edinburgh. Dubbed X MUSE Temple, the structure takes the form of a reflective dome with a meticulously crafted interior using bespoke crafts and locally sourced materials. The project carefully emphasizes the origin and quality of each element to create an immersive experience that captures the essence of X MUSE: the first blended barley vodka inspired by Scottish spirit making.
designboom spoke with Formafantasma founders, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, to learn more about this exclusive collaboration as well as the design of the X MUSE temple. “We wanted to reflect the strong Scottish roots of vodka by selecting authentic materials that could be found in and around Scotland,” the two Italian designers say designboom. Read the interview in full below.
the X MUSE temple takes the form of a reflective dome in the Jupiter Artland sculpture park
all images courtesy of X MUSE
artisanal elements, local materials and symbolic engravings
Focusing on their deep-rooted passion for sustainability and thoughtful design, Formafantasma created a bespoke experience for X MUSE. More specifically, the Milan studio designed a glass sun dome that invites the surrounding nature of Jupiter Artland into the Temple, generating an immersive experience that awakens all the senses.
Inside the dome, the X MUSE Helicon Tasting Workshop features handcrafted items made from British-sourced materials that exemplify the alchemy of vodka and are steeped in cultural allusions. Powderall Bronze, an Edinburgh-based sculpting and metalworking company, have created bronze vases and glorifiers that have each been hand patinated and hand-engraved with the brands chart. The central tasting table has been locally handcrafted from solid Scottish granite and blackened oak. The oak dining chairs, also designed by Formafantasma, are finished with Bouclé Ivoire textiles. Inspired by the most prestigious luxury destinations, the glassware was designed by Lobmeyr, Austrian creator of fine crystal for 200 years.
Designed by all-female graphic design studio A Practice for Everyday Life, the trademark artwork etched into the dome symbolically brings the X MUSE ethos to life. The meaning of these alchemical symbols is related to the essence of the X MUSE distillation process, which is a meeting of sun or fire, moon or water, earth and air.
the glass sun dome invites the surrounding nature of Jupiter Artland into the temple
Interview with Formafantasma
designboom (DB): How did your collaboration with X MUSE begin and how did the design of a brand residence go?
Formafantasma (FF): Our design practice has always been rooted in the search for themes that transcend history and focus on today and the future. This is why the collaboration was a natural fit for our studio, as the X MUSE brand philosophy is to blend cultural history with a forward-thinking approach to alchemy and contemporary art.
Due to the deep complexities on which the X MUSE brand is built and the fact that the Temple would be permanently based in Jupiter Artland, the spiritual home of X MUSE, we saw the Temple as a space to bring all artistic references to life. under one roof.
X MUSE’s rich field of inspiration allowed us to easily design the structure itself and curate the brand experience through a unique palette of materials, textures and tones, but in a minimalist way. which is layered with meaning, similar to the X MUSE bottle and graphic identity.
inside the dome, the X MUSE Helicon Tasting Workshop offers handcrafted items made from British-sourced materials
DB: What elements is Temple X MUSE made of?
F: We responded to the brief and the minimalist spirit of the brand in our own way, choosing materials and elements that were pure and reflective of the nature of X MUSE.
The exterior of the X MUSE Temple is a geodesic dome made up of triangular glass panels etched with the trademark illustrations, alchemical symbols that were originally used in Hermetic texts as a form of notation. The Monas Hieroglyphica is an esoteric symbol created by John Dee in the 16th century, and its meaning is tied to the essence of the X MUSE distillation process – a coming together of sun or fire, moon or water, earth and air.
In the dome itself, the interior walls and dividing panels are made from natural materials such as oak and curly. The X MUSE symbols are also embroidered on the wool of four of the eight panels.
Objects in the X MUSE Helicon Tasting Workshop are handcrafted from UK-sourced materials, bringing to life the alchemy intrinsic to vodka and infused with artistic references.
We have designed three bronze containers to display the two types of barley and the amethyst crystals. Barley vessels are slightly smaller in diameter and have a slight curve inside to accommodate the grains. They have all been crafted by Powderall Bronze, an Edinburgh based sculpting and metalworking studio and have each been hand patinated and hand etched with the X MUSE trademark artwork.
The elegant central tasting table is made of ebonized oak and solid, locally made Scottish granite. The oak dining chairs are finished with the same Ivory Bouclé textiles as the interior panels.
Inspired by the most prestigious luxury destinations, the glassware was designed by Formafantasma and handcrafted by Lobmeyr, the Austrian manufacturer of fine crystal for 200 years.
hand-patinated bronze vases and glorifiers hand-engraved with trademark graphics
DB: How does the design of the Temple reflect the strong Scottish roots of vodka?
FF: We wanted to reflect the strong Scottish roots of vodka by selecting authentic materials that could be found in and around Scotland, including wool, wood, granite and glass deployed throughout the X MUSE Temple and artefacts of tasting experience.
DB: How did the site, Jupiter Artland, influence the development of the project?
FF: X MUSE is a brand literally born out of the soil of Jupiter Artland, so the site has played a huge role in influencing the design of the Temple and tasting objects.
Charles Jencks Cells of Life, the landscape sculpture that sits above Jupiter Artland’s ancient aquifer, is where the water to make X MUSE vodka is drawn from. The Light Pours Out of Me by Anya Gallaccio is an underground cave lined with dazzling purple amethysts that inspired the treatment of water to increase its energy, and finally, the X Muse statue by Scottish poet, artist and gardener Ian Hamilton Finlay inspired the brand name. . All of these works are an integral part of the DNA of X MUSE and are incorporated as artistic references in the design of the Temple and the object.
the central tasting table has been locally handcrafted from solid Scottish granite and blackened oak
DB: What is the purpose of this space and what do you hope visitors will take away from it?
FF: The temple houses an intimate tasting experience for up to 15 people, but is unlike any other branded experience we’ve seen. Robert Wilson and Vadim Grigoryan, the founders of X MUSE, have imbued artistry and innovation throughout the experience, from the physical space to the vodka itself and even the drink stirrer .
Our hope is that when guests enter the X MUSE temple, they will first feel the restorative effects of natural materials and sky views, and then as they immerse themselves in the vodka tasting workshop, they will feel the artistic inspirations from X MUSE come to life.