Constructed between 1950 and 1951, the Simonds Farsons Cisk Brewery in Mrieħel has been, ever since, home to Malta’s most iconic beer. Unable to accommodate the exigencies of the modern brewing process, now housed in adjacent structures, the original art deco building’s more industrial spaces have in recent years been transformed into offices. The original brewhouse, however, and adjoining fermentation halls together with their brewing equipment have been sensitively restored and converted into the new Brewhouse Visitor Experience. Here locals and visitors to the island engage with the Cisk brand and all that Simonds Farsons Cisk as a proud local company represents Malta and its community.
The rooftop Cisk Tap is seen as the home of Cisk within its former home. Cisk beer thrives on its glorious past. Its appeal is as much due to its unique taste, as it is built on the spirit of community and family. Cisk as a brand emphasizes the specialness in those ordinary moments together of the everyday.
The space is to function as the culmination of the Visitor Experience. It is therefore an uncompromisingly contemporary space, which however purposely references Farsons’ and Cisk’s legacy and history, with a nod towards their future. The Cisk Tap is seen as more than a bar. It is a celebration of the brewery’s most revered brand, loved by across the Maltese islands, and an unmissable experience that places the product at ‘home’ – in place and in time – through the visual and physical connection to the company and Malta, its terrain and history, all while enjoying the taste of the freshest pint of the brew.
The Cisk Tap is bold and expressive while appreciative of the community’s loyal custom. The design explores the interaction of solid heavy elements and a more liquid, lighter casing that contrasts each other to provide an immersive, memorable user experience.
The centrally located counter encourages encounter, gathering, and discourse, it’s solid, pigmented, rammed concrete a reference to layered geological formations. It is encased within a crystalline enclosure that serves, in part, as a display case, and recalls in other sections, the advertising mirrors that once filled the walls of village bars. The other glazed walls open the space to the ample terraces and views across rooftops towards the nation’s current and past capital cities.
Dynamic and flexible, the Cisk Tap transforms from the concluding act of the Visitor Experience during the day to a premium venue at night. The subtle references in the décor to the original brewery’s design, and the homely village bar, infuses a sense of familiarity and warmth to those who know the brand and those who encounter it for the first time.
Alex Attard, Ramon Portelli