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A recent visit to the island of Bermuda took me to the breathtaking headquarters of Bacardi Limited, the biggest privately-owned spirits producer in the world. This architectural gem, based on a design by famed Bauhaus architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
This avant-garde building was originally supposed to be erected in Santiago de Cuba to mark the centennial anniversary of the Cuban company but construction was suspended due to the Cuban revolution. The architect’s plans were eventually used to create Bacardi’s global headquarters in 1972.
The HQ – which has been described as “the masterpiece office without walls” – has a roof that overhangs the building and appears to be floating. The office, featuring 20ft side walls of clear glass suspended from the roof structure, looks like a single-storey edifice from outside, but over the years has been extended underground.
The Moodie Report was granted a rare tour of the light-filled, airy, open-plan building, revealing artworks and portraits and a colourful Felix Ramos mural.
The ceiling in the main part of the office is covered in a fibre optic light array that recreates stars in the night sky, representing the position of the constellations as they appeared in the skies over Santiago de Cuba on the night of 4 February 1862, the date upon which Bacardi was founded by Don Facundo Bacardi Massó.
Outside, the lush gardens and lawn feature a stunning fountain, designed as a gift to the people of Bermuda.
Fittingly, The Moodie Report’s tour coincided with the May launch of Bacardi’s Spirit for Life outreach scheme, in which employees are encouraged to go out into their community and volunteer.
That’s what we call a spirited company.