A wine cellar in France’s Bordeaux country has emerged as a result of French designer Philippe Starck and architect pal Luc Arsene-Henry. The duo worked together to craft a slick, wine-tinted project clad in Alucobond NaturAL Finesse. The reflective, elliptical cellar that resulted from the designer’s rendering slices through a bank of water like a blade plunging into the freshly tended Earth.
The two designers were facing challenges concerning optimal wine storage and environmental implications. Located near Bordeaux’s city center in the Pessac-Leognan wine region, the proximity to the bustling town provoked the designers to create something both functional and modern. This led the designers to specify the ultra-flat and sleek stainless steel panels. Alucobond aluminum composite panels are credited with creating the comparison to the blade of a chef knife.
Within the cellar, the designers needed to accommodate four levels of winemaking along with reception areas. Also within the building are a new vat house, a barrel cellar, and terrace on the roof. Beyond the comparison to kitchenware, the wine cellar is designed to evoke minimalism, elegance, and artistry; qualities characteristic of the wine crafted there.
Patrice Pichet, owner of the estate, enjoys naming his signature wines after the estate’s name, Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion. The cellar boasts three stories – with one story submerged underground. The benefit to having storage underground protects up to 300 wooden barrels from extreme air temperatures and humidity. The estate curates wines from all varieties and will often have wines stored in wood, steel and even concrete barrels at once.
The public is invited to experience the cellar from the top floor while looking down on the vats. Guests can enter the roof terrace from third floor access and look out over the expansive vineyards.
Arsene-Henry, co-founder of LA/HAT Architectos, is known for designing sleek, geometric shapes within the architectural world and Starck made a name for himself designing interiors. The two combined, embark on a symbiotic relationship that indicates an appreciation for the landscape, purpose, and functionality of a project. Since functionality was a main component of the team’s design, it makes sense that ACM would fit the constraints while creating something that is durable and folds easily to fit their ambitious design specifications.
Photography © Philippe Labegurie