For wine lovers, the end of December provides an excuse to uncork a bottle of something special and reflect on the passage of time. After all, what is a particular vintage if not a testament to the beauty — or, occasionally, the disappointment — that any given year can bring?
To develop its design for a tasting pavilion at California winery Donum Estate, Studio Other Spaces — the Berlin firm run by artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann — dug into the annual highs and lows of its Sonoma County landscape. After studying how various weather parameters changed over the course of 12 months, the duo represented average biweekly values as colours. Hot periods were captured with red hues, while cold intervals were reflected with shades of blue.
Working closely with their structural engineer, ArtEngineering, Studio Other Spaces then developed a canopy structure that translates this colour diagram into 832 laminated glass panels. “It’s not a universal design,” Behmann says of his firm’s circular calendar-inspired creation. “It’s picking up on the specifics ofthe site and using those as the main design tool.”
Granted, the outcome does include a few aesthetic tweaks — for instance, the transparency of its southern panels was adjusted to mitigate the impact of the sun. That’s because Vertical Panorama Pavilion is meant to be as much a venue as an artwork. While Donum Estate operates a renowned sculpture garden with works by Ai Weiwei, Louise Bourgeois and others, for this commission, the business owners wanted something with added functionality. Thanks to the pavilion’s prime location, visitors now have the benefit of enjoying their tasting with a 360-degree view of the grounds that produced the grapes they’re enjoying.
A snaking brick wall leads visitors to the pavilion while contributing to an even deeper awareness of their setting. “The slope of the hill is irregular, but the slope of the path is absolutely straight,” Behmann explains. “By walking up it, you have a direct relation between an organic landscape and a mathematical approach.” Made from local earthen brick, this wall swirls inward to shelter the seating areas — with custom furniture by Studio Other Spaces — from the occasionally harsh winds.
When the California winery pavilion was completed, Behmann sat down inside it with a bottle of Donum’s Pinot Noir. “When you hold up a wine glass, the whole canopy is reflected in it,” he says. “Things like that have a certain magic to them.” Evidently, the experience was a highlight of his year. Here’s a toast to the many standout designs of 2022.
Studio Other Spaces designs a
kaleidoscopic shelter that celebrates the passage of time.