Bordeaux, home to the world's most coveted spirits, raises a glass to its time-honoured status in wine with the La Cité du Vin, an intoxicating decanter-shaped wine museum sculpted by XTU Architects
Located on the banks of Garonne River in Bordeaux, La Cité du Vin is an intoxicating, decanter-shaped building conceived as a unique cultural facility dedicated to the universal, living heritage of wine. Created by Parisian practice XTU Architects, La Cité du Vin spans more than 13,350 sq-m spread over 10 levels, and reaches a height of 55 metres.
The design aims to capture the spirit of wine and its fluid essence. Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières, founders of XTU Architects, imagined a scheme replete with symbolic echoes: the swirl of wine moving in a glass, the coiled movement of a grapevine, the ebb and flow of the Garonne.
The seamless, intangible and sensual curve addresses its multiple environments, resulting in a sensational impact. Horizontal and vertical lines are linked in a unique continuous motion growing out of the soil along a large boardwalk ramp. More a movement than a shape, it releases and reveals itself as it rises, creating an event amid the landscape that connects with the bridge and river.
The outer structure consists of custom-printed glass panels — both flat and curved — in a variety of colours, and lacquered, iridescent aluminium panels in a single colour. The different, constantly changing shades and angles of these panels give the building an appearance which develops with the Bordeaux sky:
reflections of the clouds, the city and the water enhance La Cité du Vin's evocative appearance.
Through the arrangement and the twists it incorporates, the structure becomes a dazzling display of golden reflections, reminiscent of the white stone of Bordeaux façades and in dialogue with the lights of the Garonne. Through the windows, the panoramic view reminds visitors where they are.
The curve, matching the flow of the Garonne, is also reflected in the interior volumes, spaces and materials. La Cité du Vin houses a major space in the shape of the permanent tour on the second floor, an immersive voyage of discovery into the world of wine. It winds around a central courtyard, allowing visitors to enjoy a flowing visit to the full.
This is an excerpt from the “A free-flowing spirit" article from the April 2017 issue of Perspective magazine.
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