It's not only Rioja that boasts wineries designed by world class "starchitects", Château La Coste in Aix-en-Provence has commissioned The Shard architect Renzo Piano to create an eco-friendly building integrated into the landscape of the 120-hectare estate. “The building will have a grass roof, so it will be hard to tell where the landscape ends and the structure begins,” La Coste winemaker Matthieu Cosse told the drinks business. Owned by Irish property tycoon Paddy McKillen, projects by world-renowned architects Frank Gehry, Richard Rogers and Sir Norman Foster are also in development at La Coste.
Gehry is working with painter Tony Berlant on a sculpture pavilion, while Rogers is developing an exhibition room. La Coste already features the deconstructed wood and glass pavilion (above) Gehry exhibited at the Serpentine Galley in 2008, which is used to host concerts during the summer. McKillen has also commissioned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei to design a photography pavilion, and American light artist James Turrell, who has his own museum at Donald Hess-owned winery Colomé in Argentina, to create a tunnel of light.
Weiwei recently collaborated with internationally acclaimed architectural duo Herzog & de Meuron to create this year’s summer pavilion at the Serpentine Galley made predominantly of cork. McKillen put Japanese architect Tadao Ando in charge of pulling in the big name artists and architects at the estate, which also features work from the late Louise Bourgeois (above), Sean Scully, Richard Serra, and R.E.M frontman Michael Stipe. Work on the ambitious estate began in 2003, which opened to the public last summer, with Cosse reporting a huge amount of interest from UK, American and Japanese tourists.
A 29-room luxury hotel-spa designed by Tangram Architects is currently in development and scheduled to open in 2013. The winery itself is designed by Jean Nouvel, one of France’s most revered modern architects. The 120-hectare, 100% certified organic estate produces an extensive range of wines, along with its own organic olive oil. Unusually for Provence, red wine accounts for 40% of its production. McKillen part-owns luxury London hotels Claridge’s, the Connaught and the Berkeley, all of which are part of the Maybourne Hotel Group.