Philos is a gimbal decanter designed for serving whisky on superyachts

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London-based Studio Indigo and craftsmen Little Halstock have created a sculptural gimbal decanter for whisky distillers The Glenrothes that can be used aboard a yacht to protect and pour its rare Demijohn 1969 spirit.

The Glenrothes creative team worked with Studio Indigo and Little Halstock to develop the artistic object, which houses a 70-centilitre crystal decanter filled with a 44-year-old whisky.

The project was initiated by Anna Lisa Stone, head of creative at Scottish distillers The Glenrothes, who had the idea of protecting the whisky in a gimbal device.

Philos sits in a pivoted, rotating support

Named after the Greek inventor Philo of Byzantium, who first described the workings of a gimbal in the third century BC, Philos features a pivoted support that can rotate on three axes to keep the decanter steady on the rolling sea.

To bring her vision to life Stone commissioned Studio Indigo, which has previous experience working on yacht interiors and was already collaborating with The Glenrothes on a guesthouse at the distillery’s estate.

The designers set out to create an uncompromising luxury item for whisky enthusiasts that would combine precision engineering, contemporary aesthetics and fine craft.

The whisky decanter is more than a metre tall

Standing at over one metre high, Philos is scaled appropriately to give it a dramatic presence when displayed on some of the world’s largest superyachts. Its design references maritime history and the colours of its outer sheath evoke those of the ocean and the sky.

“Overall, our aim was to create a world-first across yachting, whisky and design through a decanter that protects every drop of this precious liquid and a beautifully enriching experience,” said Stone.

Its sheath was coloured to resemble the ocean and sky

Stone suggested that the object also needed to display “unparalleled beauty, attention to detail and storytelling to envelop our prized whisky,” adding that, “the experience must be seamless, delightful, and with a dash theatre.”

The whisky in Philos was drawn from a cask that was filled in 1969 and spent 44 years maturing before being decanted into six glass demijohns.

Philos comes with its own set of six reloadable decanters that can be stored and displayed in the accompanying bespoke presentation boxes.

The design comes with a set of six reloadable decanters

Focusing on the preciousness of the Demijohn 1969 whisky, the project aims to provide a way for connoisseurs to enjoy the liquid on the open sea without any fear of spillage when pouring it.

The ‘cage’ containing the decanter is mounted within three rings that allow it to move freely in response to pitch and roll. A hand-painted aluminium globe formed of six interlocking concave leaves creates a further protective shroud around the whisky.


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The sphere is set at a 23.5 degree angle to mirror the Earth’s rotation axis. When it is unlocked and the leaves are drawn back by hand, the decanter is revealed against a lining of soft Alcantara fabric.

The contraption rests on a base with a layered design informed by the topography of the Glen of Rothes where the distillery is located.

The decanter sits against a lining of Alcantara fabric

According to Studio Indigo, the look and feel of Philos aims to accentuate its modern character whilst referencing objects associated with maritime exploration such as Renaissance globes, as well as luxury items including traditional humidors and drinks cabinets.

“Even though Philos is rooted in history, we wanted the piece to have a contemporary feel,” explained designers Olga Fox and Lyne Arbid.

“This meant a desire to stay away from the traditional woods and brass typical of historic armillary spheres. Instead, the mix of contemporary materials in cool steel tones embody the future of craft.”

Its design references historical seafaring objects

Little Halstock was tasked with devising a sophisticated pouring sequence that safely releases the liquid and provides an engaging spectacle.

The fully mechanical process uses a system of hidden cogs to charge a waiting glass with a perfect 50ml pour. The precise gears were manufactured in workshops usually reserved for aerospace engineering.

The Dorset-based company, which is known for producing fine cabinetry and heirloom objects, also crafted each of Philos’ components using a material palette of soft silver metals complemented by hand-painted surfaces.

Philos was first presented in Saint-Tropez during Les Voiles regatta and is set to appear at various international events throughout 2024. While the inaugural version is available to purchase, future commissions will be customisable at the client’s request.

Recently, fellow Scottish distillery The Dalmore launched a 48-year-old single malt whisky housed in a unique wood and steel sculpture designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

Artist James Turrell also recently designed a sculptural Glenturret whisky bottle for glass brand Lalique.

The photography is by James Reeve.

The post Philos is a gimbal decanter designed for serving whisky on superyachts appeared first on Dezeen.

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