Sitting in the middle of a prestigious vineyard, the Château La Dominique is on neighbourly terms with some of the most famous appellations in the world: Cheval Blanc, Petrus, Figeac, La Conseillante, l’Evangile… It clearly needed to mark its territory by bringing out and transforming a very special landscape. And so the idea was born of creating an object that would rise up out of the existing building–a big stone barn smack bang in the middle of the domaine–and would venture into the vines like a piece of land art, in a nod to the artist Anish Kapoor.
The volumetry of this object is pure, consisting of a horizontal plane and four vertical mirror walls. On the terrace created between these planes, a veritable lookout floating over the vines, the fifth plane, detached and horizontal, reflects the existing rooves, the vines and the horizon. The East and West façades consist of a concrete veil, covered in a set of horizontal stainless steel slats that are polished and lacquered a dark red colour to remind us that, here, it’s all about wine. The slats are progressively angled, all the way down the facade, with the bottom slats angled upwards, reflecting the sky, while the slats at the top, angled progressively downwards, reflect the ground and the rows of vines. The North façade is transparent, consisting of a large two-way mirror that reflects the vines during the day and then reveals the new fermenting room when night falls. The roofing is a fine horizontal plate, with the underside made from the same dark red material as the façades. Upstairs, a restaurant with floor-to-ceiling glass walls looks North over a vast terrace. The terrace floor is covered in the centre with red glass gravel that you tread as people once trod grapes. Steps leading down from the terrace take you to a small balcony from where you can run your eye unhindered out over the sea of vines.
Ateliers Jean Nouvel, design architect; Moon Safari ex-Air Architectes, management, development and implementation architect.