A synthesis of fine wine, sculpture, architecture, rural landscape and dramatic ocean views
Jolson Architecture and Interiors was commissioned to design Pt. Leo Estate Winery by an art enthusiast and fine Australian wine producer. The building is situated on a vineyard site in coastal Mornington Peninsula and its shape follows the twisted site while referencing the winemaking process. The winery’s abstract architecture finds itself in the context of an amalgamation of ocean, sculpture and Australian landscape.
Art and wine are joined with a sculpture park, restaurant and cellar door framed within a breathtaking landscape. The structure is located on the highest point of the site to encourage the public to engage with the vineyard upon approach. The sculpture park follows a winding path as it wraps around the winery creating temporary views of architecture and ocean and vineyard. There are over fifty large-scale sculptures from local and international artists. The display was curated by former director of the Geelong Gallery, Geoffrey Edwards. Some of the sculptors’ work includes that of Tony Cragg, Augustine Dall’ava, Deborah Halpern, Inge King, Clement Meadmore, Jaume Plensa and Anthony Pryor.
The intrepid landscaped gesture and design of the building’s skin are at one with Inge King’s iconic sculpture. The built form rises from the earth at the forecourt while containing the extended vineyard. The curvaceous form is an abstract interpretation of wine pouring from a bottle and the organic cycle of the wine harvest. In summer months, a veil of vines covers the building reinforcing the design’s response to its context. The cracked granite forecourt surface showcases an evocative, asymmetrical placement of a single Bottle Tree. The juxtaposition of the structure also maximizes the dramatic views of the ocean and rugged landscape.
The entry arbor allows a swath of natural light to penetrate through the timber slats in the ceiling which separates the forecourt from the radial pavilion. There is a continuous connection with the surrounding landscape and sculpture park from the interior of the building. The walls, ceiling and joinery embrace the radial faceted grid embedded in the architecture. There is a clear attention to details in the finishes which borrowed from the tonal shifts in the adjacent paddocks and found inspiration from a deconstructed wine barrel. Timber and steel are used thoughtfully throughout the interior.
The building’s radial plan arranges the three zones of entry arbor, cellar door and restaurant. The client wanted each area to have equal emphasis and to function concurrently. So, each is pronounced without walls or partitions within a large open space. Within the radial plan is nested the Cellar Door, Pt. Leo Restaurant and Laura Fine Dining. The Cellar Door uses the vineyard to facilitate conversations about the wine and extends to an outdoor terrace. The fine dining is named after Jaume Plensa’s Laura sculpture and offers a set menu inspired by Mornington Peninsula’s regional produce. Sightlines have been cleverly created between the two.
Jolson is well-known for their work in the residential sector. This project represents Jolson’s first public and hospitality commission in architecture, interior design and landscape master planning. Visitors to Pt. Leo Estate Winery will enjoy its unique characteristics and amazing Australian landscape as a truly sensory experience.
Location: Merrick, Australia
Project by: Jolson Architecture and Interiors
Photos by: Lucas Allen, Anson Smart