Builder: Yarra Valley Construction
Collaborator: Bespoke kinetic mobile – Collaboration with Andrew Hustwaite
Text description provided by the architects. Iconic méthode traditionelle producer Chandon Australia was due a cellar door rejuvenation that matched the calibre of its offering and heritage. Conceptually marrying the winery’s French origins with its new-world locale, we created a new brand-immersion across retail, bar, tasting and dining.
Our brief was to overhaul the site with a tight focus on customer brand experience. However, the budget demanded that the voluminous architecture with barrel-vaulted ceilings be retained, requiring subtle management of acoustics and considered demarcation of zones. The original layout of the site was disjointed, resulting in a chaotic atmosphere. This meant that on busy weekends, visitors were typically staying for just a quick, half-hour tasting stop before moving swiftly onto the next winery.
To encourage customers to linger, we separated and diversified the bar experience into two distinct functions. Our concept ‘compression/release’ is revealed in the adjacency of the intimate tasting room and the airy lounge bar. Mezzanine offices were repurposed into private tasting rooms to host larger groups, while the terrace was extended to maximize the magnificent vista of the vineyards beyond. These spatial reconfigurations were made possible through the client’s wish to reduce the footprint of the brasserie, a relatively formal space, which needed to become a more inviting and casual experience for daytime dining.
As product purchase is the main drawcard for visitors, retail became a critical component of the brief to resolve. We strove to integrate it into the customer experience in a fluid and holistic manner; and to advance retail design methodology, rather than keeping it the usual separate exercise. By strategically relocating this offering to a prime position between the lounge bar and brasserie, patrons are encouraged to naturally wander between the zones.
Acknowledging Chandon’s parent brand—LVMH—we created a unique and dynamic retail experience influenced by the dramatic luxury found in Louis Vuitton stores. Referencing alchemy (the transmutation of ordinary metals into gold), we engaged in an intensive process of testing various metalwork techniques to develop custom metal finishes. The results are reflected in the bespoke joinery we developed in close collaboration with local fibre glass and metal craftspeople: framed bubble-inspired discs for bottle display; folded and curved storage systems; and portable merchandising plinths in the form of abstracted wine corks. Exceeding key aspects of the client’s brief, the product is now showcased in a creative setting that elevates it to the highest standard.
Colors reflect seasonal tonal shifts in the landscape, like dusky pink and green velvet, natural bronze-toned hues, aged leather and printed textiles by Indigenous artists. In the restaurant, brass light fittings suggest a Parisian bistro aesthetic, while the use of Queensland ‘Dreamtime’ marble and native, spotted gum timber joinery and flooring throughout, anchors Chandon to its Australian setting.
The alchemic finale was the outcome of collaboration between metal-craftspeople and our designers – a kinetic mobile suspended over the lounge bar’s central banquette. Dynamic, buoyant and delicately weighted, this sculptural pièce de résistance projects a sparkling patina in a playful take on the unpredictable nature of bubbles.