Meet the Bloomsbury Atelier Co-Founders. Sculptor-turned-Distiller Alan McQuillan and Architect-turned-Industrialist Benjamin Harriman met through exhibiting and practising their respective arts in Bloomsbury, London. It was their common passion for unique materials that reflect the cultures of the world, and the people that define them, which kick-started their working relationship. We sat down with Alan to discuss what inspires and influences this distilling duo…
Describe Bloomsbury Atelier in one sentence?
Distillation is a tool to discover cultures through flavour and encounter; spirits are a map of the world charting a course via this experience.
When and how did Bloomsbury Atelier start?
Alan started distilling at the Royal College of Art in London. Interested in material properties and the nature of form, he used distillation as a strategy to make sculpture without shape. Primarily concerned with the pure creative act, flavour, aroma and the human senses became the perfect forum to exhibit with. After a number of interesting commissions he launched Bloomsbury Pastis, exclusive to Selfridges, before founding a company with Ben and starting Bloomsbury Atelier.
What’s your philosophy?
Flavour first and foremost. Everything interesting and uniquely human will inevitably spill forth from that.
What has been the best influence thus far in your business?
Trusting in the people who experience our spirits for the first time to want more: more complexity, more intensity. The world is made up of complexity and we try to keep that in our spirits. People aren’t afraid to learn about a piece of the world that was hidden behind marketing and embrace it as a new adventure.
What are your passions?
Learning at the very edge of our understanding. We’re fortunate enough to be able to say we already do what we love. It does however take a very long time and a huge amount of risk and effort to get to that place, but it means you can live in it, share it and continue to learn everyday.
Discover Bloomsbury Atelier’s inaugural spirit, CUBANA, here.