The wall of Ketel One vodka bottles at Sarabande

The wall of Ketel One Vodka bottles at Sarabande

Named after Alexander McQueen’s 2007 Spring/Summer collection, the Sarabande Foundation was founded to support the kind of emerging innovative minds that are fearless in their approach to creativity, pushing boundaries and challenging preconceived ideas – an attitude that McQueen epitomized from the very beginning of his career. Ketel One Vodka went into partnership with Sarabande in June 2016. Ketel One Vodka is a family brand spanning 325 years and 11 generations and already supports a similar foundation in Holland, making Sarabande a natural fit.

The bar

The bar at Sarabande

The former horse stables in Hertford Road have been refitted into 15 studios, exhibition space, communal space, offices and a stunning bar. The latter celebrates Ketel One Vodka and the dark genius of McQueen and is designed by Tord Boontje, who used to do product design for Alexander McQueen. As part of his design process, Boontje took inspiration from both Ketel One Vodka and the unique elements and influences of McQueen’s creations. The bar at Sarabande had to be a place that epitomized the drama of both, and looking at the fang-like shape of the bar and the transparent red plastic curtain and red PVC-clad windows, they have certainly achieved that. The delicate, poetic beauty of the floral chandelier – a classic Boontje design – sloping along the back wall offsets what could potentially have been borderline vampire-esque. As a founding partner, Ketel One Vodka will collaborate with Sarabande on a variety of activities and events designed to highlight accents of the most interesting expressions of creativity being explored today.

Boontje in his studio

Boontje in his studio

However, let’s not forget what the essence of Sarabande is. It is there to make sure that creativity can flourish irrespective of your bank account. And not ‘just’ money – obviously the bursaries and studio space is a tremendous help but there’s also access to experts from creative industries and interaction with Sarabande patrons as well, something that potentially continues after graduation. Patrons such as Tim Blanks, Shaun Leane and Andrew Bolton to name but a few, each one a megastar in their respective fields, yet happy to reach out to emerging talent.

Please send all enquiries to:

22 Hertford Road
London N1 5SH

The images show snapshots from the first collaboration, the creation of a bespoke bar and artistic installation designed by contemporary Dutch artist and designer, Tord Boontje, at the Sarabande HQ in Haggerston. The unique artistic bar represents the partnership and is designed to be a permanent feature at the Sarabande Studios in Haggerston, providing a stunning backdrop for Sarabande events.

The first and last polish - Boontje wants the copper to acquire its own patina by being left unpolished

The first and last polish – Boontje wants the copper to acquire its own patina by being left unpolished

Words by Anna Bang


alexander mcqueen, Andrew Bolton, Ketel One Vodka, Sarabande, Shaun Leane, Tim Blanks, Tord Boontje,