Bulleit Debuts 3D-printed Bar in Oakland

The whiskey company chose Oakland as the first of many "cultural hotspots" on its tour.


DJs Foozool and 8ulentina.

Image courtesy of Bulleit

Bulleit Frontier Whiskey launched its latest Frontier Works collaborative art/science/alcohol platform Dec. 6 in Oakland's Sixteenth Street Station — a formerly abandoned Beaux Arts-style Southern Pacific Railroad station that is now being restored as part of a local redevelopment project.

The experience featured a stunning 3D-printed bar designed by award-winning architecture and Berlin-based design outfit FAR, fabricated by the Machine Histories team. Inspired by Bulleit Bourbon's iconic label, the 3D-printed bar will make a trip nationwide enroute to its permanent home in the visitors' center of the Bulleit Distilling Company in Shelbyville, KY.

Oakland was chosen as the first stop on what the company calls a tour of "cultural hotspots."

The Sixteenth Street Station event also included 3D-printed cocktails by robotics pioneer Benjamin Grimeil, who worked on these with local mixologists. Guests also savored 3D-printed light bites while enjoying music by Ethiopian-born Oakland singer Meklit Hadero — whose beats and lyrics are derived from star-mapping technology — and Club Chai DJs 8ulentina and Foozool. The DJs spun set lists inspired by Oakland's "frontier spirit and cultural heritage," according to a press release.

"There is nothing like this out there! We are flipping the script on how we share Bulleit with people by creating experiences inspired by the frontiers of the past, to forge new frontiers today," said Sophie Kelly, senior vice president of DIAGEO North American Whiskeys. 

"From reimagining what a bar could be, to partnering with cutting-edge mixologists and robotics pioneers to print 3D cocktails, this experience defies convention in order to redefine tradition, taking people on a journey that explores new frontiers. We're proud to call Oakland's Sixteenth Street Station home for these events and even prouder that our partnership will assist in the urban renewal of this cultural landmark and spectacular space."

To create the bar, the FAR team studied the Bulleit label, then instead of a standard drawing of the design fashioned another vrsion based on an algorithmic script that "defines the geometry of the piece through a series of digital data sets," according to the press release, which also notes that the bar's copper surface was inspired by Bulleit's amber hue:

"Taking the bar from design to production was a unique challenge due to the intricacies of the fine lattice structure that are inherent to 3D printing. FAR and Bulleit collaborated to design and redesign the lattice structure more than a dozen different ways to allow for varying densities in different areas of the bar to maximize visual impact, but still cater to the functional needs" of bartenders.

Bulleit is also making a monetary donation to BRIDGE Housing the nonprofit affordable-housing developer that owns the Sixteenth Street Station. 

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