Two hundred and fifty years ago, brewer Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease for his St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin, Ireland. To commemorate this event, the Guinness company could have rolled out a stretch limousine, but it decided to go one better by launching a “deep-sea bar” in the chilly waters of the Baltic off Stockholm, Sweden. Designed by London-based Jump Studios, the modified tourist submarine was commissioned as part of the Guinness Sea Experience competition, that included an underwater trip inside the Guinness sub as a prize.
Jump Studios was given the brief of redesigning the interior of the submarine to reflect the Guinness slogan “Alive Inside,” and with the help of carpentry and engineering specialist Nicholas Alexander created a GRP (glass-reinforced plastic) shell that fits inside the passenger compartment of the submarine. This required taking precise measurements of the complicated interior of the craft, which were then used to fabricate the shell in Britain before shipping it to Sweden for assembly.
The submarine posed a number challenges for the team. The shell not only had to fit inside, but it had to conform to the vessel’s operational parameters, fit around structural members, not block safety equipment or access to machinery spaces, and meet ventilation and fire safety standards. They also faced the universal problem of working inside a submarine – everything had to fit through a small hatch.
So, the shell was built out of six types of modular components that could be fitted inside the cabin to form bars, tables, and seating for five people. The surfaces of these components consisted of bubble-like rubber discs. Some of these were hollowed out to serve as glass holders while others were wired with LED lights to give the sub an appropriately night-clubish atmosphere. The exterior of the submarine has the Guinness 250 logo on the side for the benefit of any passing flounders.
Press releases by Jump Studios don’t give any details about the submarine itself, but the photographs show a typical tourist boat of the sort used around the world to take visitors on short trips down to depths of about 330 feet (100 m). The cabin of the vessel remains at surface pressure at all times, which is fortunate. Otherwise, the partygoers would have found their Guinness quite flat and then foaming alarmingly (and dangerously) in their stomachs on returning to the surface.
Among the first passengers were competition winner Evelyne Gridelet and two guests. They were flown from Belgium to the island of Högmarsö in the Stockholm Archipelago for their undersea party.