The design scheme integrates the tasting rooms into the land, emulating the rocky cliff where grape vines enjoy the warm and moisture-laden air. The multi-level building has few exterior clues as to its use. The concrete walls use a new system which emulates the aged character of the landscape. Local stone is set in the concrete, and the surface is scratched before setting up to give the walls a rough, natural finish. This handmade exterior is a reflection of the copious stone work in the region.
La Tonnelle’s small entrance to the street opens to a blackened, minimally lit stairway. The narrow stairway and corridors, evocative of a cave or the path of a vineyard, open up to a daylit room ringed with shelves of wine. A smaller tasting room to the side is where the design comes together. The large windows are covered in a metal mesh screen into which artist Daniel Schlaepfer inserted thousands of golden metallic tiles that become a pixilated grapevine when viewed from a distance.
With the room’s interior lighting as a back drop, the screen becomes a prominent symbol of the building as it glows on the hillside in the evening. By day, the screen shimmers with a cool organic touch, softening the building’s blocky profile. The screen also adds intimacy to the tasting room and prevents the hot sun from overheating the space. Below is a small theater which presents the grape growing culture and history of the region.
Photos © Thomas Jantscher