To match Charles Smith's rock and roll vitner style, he secured an old automotive garage in Walla Walla, Washington for his new tasting room and headquarters for his wine. Then he hired Seattle firm Olson Kundig Architects to transform the historic building into a multi-purpose wine tasting and entertainment venue. Leaving much of the interior raw and industrial, the space features prefabricated components and versatile, multi-functional furniture to accommodate a variety of events.
Located in the center of Walla Walla on South Spokane Street is the Charles Smith Wines World Headquarters and Wine Tasting Room. The building was originally built in 1917 and was once the home to Johnson Auto Electric. To transform it into the world headquarters for Charles Smith, Olson Kundig wanted to design a new tasting room and office space that would match his rock and roll style. They shell of the building, including the with original brick walls, wood trusses and a concrete floor received only minor structural updates, but was otherwise left raw. The maintained the ability to drive trucks and vehicles through from one side or another, which allows food trucks and deliveries to easily occur.
New additions to the space include two custom, hand-cranked pivot doors (no electricity needed) that open the space to the outdoors and the street. Custom tables and chairs were designed for a variety of events and can be moved and docked together as needed. Then a prefabricated space, dubbed the Armadillo was built to serve as a conference room, workspaces for 14 people, including a semi-enclosed office space for Charles Smith and an enclosed space for accounting. Panels slide along the prefab steel volume opening the rooms up to the rest of the space or they can close down for privacy. The Armadillo along with other major furniture components were all fabricated off site at Spearhead Timberworks. The Charles Smith Headquarters & Wine Tasting Room was designed to be an all-in-one office, tasting room and retail store, and dining and entertainment venue.
Images ©Benjamin Benschneider