The Alchemist


Powder-coated, high performance A4 (grade 316) stainless steel fasteners from SFS have played a key role in enabling Artez, the main contractor, and leading roofing and cladding contractor Longworth to create an iconic new building for Living Ventures, owners of The Alchemist, in Manchester's vibrant MediaCity.

The Design Brief

Designed by Reid Architects, ‘The Bund’ is an iconic new bar and restaurant on the waterfront next to the world famous Lowry Centre for Living Ventures and the company’s 11th Alchemist venue. The design brief provided scope for originality and creativity in meeting the key requirements to deliver a building that would be different and special. The aim was to draw together the diverse areas of Salford Quays in a single new building located on the land bridge crossing Dock 9, between The Lowry and the BBC.

The Building Vision

The Bund provides a revolutionary hybrid landscape in creating what is a unique and futuristic venue. The new building features a spectacular gold roof and walls and a stunning terrace that cantilevers out over the canal, matching the aesthetic and style ambitions of Living Ventures and of the high class cocktail bar’s clientele. This striking building was completed in a construction programme lasting just over 12 months.

Longworth as Roofing Contractor

Known for their expertise in metal roofing, Longworth were commissioned to construct the building envelope and to realise Reid Architects’ golden vision. Ben Parker, Business Development Manager at Longworth, commented, "We are immensely proud of our work on The Alchemist. We believe that Longworth is perhaps one of a handful of companies in the UK that could have successfully implemented this job as it was incredibly complex. To hear that the building has been shortlisted for a Building of the Year Award with Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce this October makes it an especially memorable project for us."

The Solution

Based on a single folded plate elevation which wraps the whole envelope, the building has a large proportion of sky-facing surface to ensure its visual quality from all viewpoints, including the surrounding high rise residences. The building is clad in gold zinc adding to its beacon-like prominence. At night the low-level perimeter lighting gives the effect that the building is floating over the dock. The elevation facing the water is floor to ceiling glass with an external terrace projected out over the dock, offering fantastic views across the waterfront to the Imperial War Museum.

The Role of SFS's Fasteners

Ben Parker explains how fasteners were important to the overall design, "In order to colour coordinate the gold zinc panels, we requested support from SFS intec to ensure complete colour consistency on their fastener heads. We know we can rely on SFS intec's excellent product quality and their range of A4 (grade 316) fasteners means we can offer an extended life cycle on the building envelope, a requirement which is now generally specified by all the leading architects. Additionally, SFS intec always provide excellent technical support throughout the design and construction phases of the project and with their longer warranties, we feel at ease with ensuring a sustainable, long-lasting build."

Project Success

Graeme McIlroy, Regional Sales Manager at SFS intec, adds, "We're delighted to have been a key supplier to Longworth for this iconic building project. It's always exciting to see architects continuously pushing the boundaries of façade design, and new, innovative panel designs being produced. We firmly believe that fasteners hold the key to maintaining the visual appeal of the building envelope and our powder coated A4 stainless steel fasteners are the best way to ensure a façade retains its integrity over a long service life.”

Photographs are courtesy of James Andrews and the Artez Group.


SFS Group Fastening Technology Ltd.
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