Yarra Valley, VIC, Australia
The Chandon Australia project by Foolscap Studio is an in-depth rejuvenation of a Yarra Valley icon, Domaine Chandon.
The brief was to overhaul the site and create a new brand-immersion across bar, dining, tasting and retail spaces. Inspired by the uplifting ritual of spontaneously popping the cork, Foolscap Studio have celebrated heritage with a fresh affair fit for the 21st century. Views of the incredible surrounding landscape were a natural starting point for considering the visitor experience, the range of which will traverse loyalists and locals, diehard food and wine thrill-seekers, ‘gramming millennials and new discoverers alike. Fearless application of colour reflects the extraordinary tonal shifts in the environs throughout the seasons.
Budget management required that the existing 1980s industrial structure – a voluminous space between vaulted ceilings and hard surfaces – be retained. As such, subtle acoustic treatment was imperative and the interior architecture was integrated through bold design gestures.
The idea of alchemy was fundamental to the core conceptual approach. The transformation of ordinary base metals into gold: what better metaphor for the magical production of sparkling wine? Foolscap Studio explored the ways in which materials react to the passing of time, to various processes and to each other. The results of the studio’s investigations are reflected in the application of different metals and metal finish treatments.
The process of transformation in wine making informed the design of each space. ‘Compression/Release’ is revealed in enclosed, intimate spaces – the Tasting Room for example – and airy, exuberant zones, like the Lounge Bar. Open, woven materials are juxtaposed with the solidity of weighty, opaque substances to allude to the duality of density and lightness in sparkling wine.
These ideas were also rendered in a style that pays homage to Chandon’s French heritage, while retaining a youthfulness that speaks to its relatively recent establishment within the Champagne house’s lineage. Banquettes upholstered in aged leather and velvet, with brass light fittings, suggest a Parisian bistro aesthetic.
Foolscap Studio always aim to celebrate and work with local materiality and makers. Spotted Gum timber flooring and joinery adds a soft character and warmth against the remarkable textured patterning of Queensland ‘Dreamtime’ marble and printed textiles by indigenous artists.
A critical component of the brief to resolve – and central to the design and layout of the scheme – was the retail space. Adele Winteridge and her team worked closely with local fibreglass and metalwork manufacturers to realise our product display system, installing bespoke, sculptural joinery, portable plinths and framed, up-lit fibreglass screens for product storage and display.
Exceeding key aspects of the client’s brief, which entailed the creation of a unique and dynamic retail experience, their product is now showcased in a creative setting that elevates the retail experience to the highest standard.
The pièce de résistance – a large, ethereal mobile hanging over the central raised banquette – was developed in collaboration with local metal craftspeople. Dynamic, buoyant and delicately weighted, this suspended kinetic sculpture gently bobs to the rhythm of the bar and projects a sparkling patina, a playful take on the unpredictable nature of bubbles.
The Chandon Australia project by Foolscap Studio is ultimately a celebration of the the beauty of master wine making and the moments in life that sparkling wine is associated with. This project is a true champagne supernova and a triumph in interior architecture.
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