DesignOffice has distilled the brand values of Handpicked Wines to create an urban cellar door that takes customers on a journey of wine and space.
December 14th, 2016
Handpicked Wines offers exactly what its name suggests: handpicked wines and grapes from around Australia and the world that reflect “a supreme sense of place.” Handpicked Wines has opened its flagship cellar door in Chippendale, Sydney, providing an environment in which the brand’s values are distilled into the architecture, design and experience of the space, and similarly reflect a supreme sense of place.
“Handpicked Wines is a contemporary and non-traditional wine brand that makes wines in multiple regions. The aim of the cellar door is to make wine education more accessible for all levels, from wine novice to expert,” explains Mark Simpson who co-founded Melbourne-based studio DesignOffice with Damien Mulvihill.
The new venue is located on a site with a long history in the booze business. Formerly the Carlton & United Brewery, and Kent Brewery or Tooth’s Brewery prior to that, the building complex closed in 2005 and has since undergone some serious adaptive reuse with the likes of the Old Clare Hotel and now Handpicked Cellar Door.
To accommodate a retail space, tasting bar, wine lounge and experiential wine room, DesignOffice took a flexible approach to ensure the successful coexistence of the various components. “We wanted to create a space that allowed customers to craft their own experience and explore the range in way that was not prescriptive. The fluidity in circulation and range of seating options allow customers to explore at their own pace,” Simpson says.
Detailed and rhythmic timber joinery runs the length of the room and serves to define the functional spaces, as well as concealing the mechanical services. The retail space at one end of the space has freestanding modular floor units for storage and display as well as facilitating the integration of digital content for visitors’ wine experience to continue online. Custom tasting tables accommodate wine tasting by day and bar seating by night, and the experiential room adjacent has stainless steel wine tanks that contain unfinished wine samples for customers to delve deeper into the winemaking process.
DesignOffice worked with the fabric of the original brick building to create a space that Simpson describes as “warm, inviting, convivial and welcoming.” The brick walls and high ceilings have been retained for volume, character and texture, and timber linings have been extruded from the walls and backlit to add depth and warmth. The original “No Smoking” signs painted on the walls are left exposed to reveal layers of the past and a palette of natural, raw and tactile materials emphasise the cellar vibe. “The existing timber floor, concrete columns and brick walls have been married with solid oak, granite, cement render, linoleum and galvanised steel to create a rich and tangible palette,” Simpson explains.
Like the process of distillation, DesignOffice has extracted the essence of Handpicked Wines and translated it into a cellar door that takes customers on a journey of wine and space.
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