Wine Cellar: a gallery dedicated to wine
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Wine Cellar: a gallery dedicated to wine

The new volume completes the visitor experience offered by Baglio Donna Franca

Studio 4e

Wine Cellar: a gallery dedicated to wine
By Editorial Staff -

Baglio Donna Franca was built in the late 19th century in the countryside near Marsala. A landscape of breathtaking beauty, it’s located in the hills on the border with Trapani, therefore offering views over the Aegadian Islands, the Stagnone Nature Reserve, Marsala, and Erice. The winery takes its name from Franca Florio, a noblewoman who, after marrying the heir of what was one of the richest and most powerful families of the time, the Florios, was the driving force behind what’s been termed Sicily’s Belle Époque. At the time, the farmhouse was used as a base for harvesting the grapes used to make Marsala, one of the most important wines of the area, and a symbol of the soul of Sicily and of the Florio family itself. Following a painstaking conservative restoration, it’s still possible to experience the stately atmosphere of yesteryear at Baglio Donna Franca, which now represents the epicenter of winemaking excellence in Sicily. The tradition is continued by current owners Giacomo Ansaldi and Paola Letizia Galfano, who produce organic wines and restored the 19th century farmhouse to perform its original function.


A tasting gallery

Wine Cellar Baglio Donna Franca, Studio 4e ©Michelle Äärlaht and Francesco Piazza, courtesy of Studio 4e

The conservative restoration of the building was completed by architects Fabio Costanzo and Maria Rosaria Piazza, owners and founding partners of Palermo-based Studio 4e. The result is the new Wine Cellar.

The project, which involved the collaboration of a close-knit team comprising architect Luigi Castellana and engineers Gaspare Ciaccio and Giuliano Verde, consists of a metal-framed structure with transparent walls, which integrates perfectly into the landscape and architectural setting.

The new addition was conceived as a tasting gallery that connects, via a single pathway, the previously separate existing volumes around the internal courtyard, which house the reception and restaurant respectively. The new building, accessible directly from the internal courtyard, comprises a series of passageways and communicating rooms dedicated to tasting and keeping wines, with controlled temperature and humidity levels.

>>> Also discover Il Quinto winery in the hills of Magliano, Tuscany


Evocative architecture

Wine Cellar Baglio Donna Franca, Studio 4e ©Michelle Äärlaht and Francesco Piazza, courtesy of Studio 4e

Conceived as a place to share the values, history, and culture of the company, Wine Cellar Baglio Donna Franca does more than show off the winemaker’s products but is also a wine culture hub that offers a highly immersive experience. For this reason, two iconic symbols characterize the architecture, with the roof modeled after the curving shape of a wine bottle and the cooled rooms used for wine storage divided using a spatial scanning approach to recall the image of the broken line of a lignified vine shoot.

The transparent walls allow visual communication with the outside of the complex and its central courtyard, giving visitors an idea of an ongoing synergy among all the company’s activities. The interiors are therefore bright and airy, with simple, contemporary custom-made timber furniture that doesn’t distract attention from the wines as the real stars of the show. The bottles are kept on large geometric shelves in climate-controlled rooms, forming the central element of the design.

The finishes are simple and linear. The timber furniture dialogues with the windows and the metal elements of the structure, whose large, curving roof beams, painted to recall the red of the wines, give the space an elegant and contemporary character.


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Location: Marsala, Italy
Client: Baglio Donna Franca
Completion: 2020
Architect: Studio 4e Associated Architects: Arch. Fabio Costanzo and Arch. Maria Rosaria Piazza  + Arch. Luigi Castellana
Structural engineering: Ing. Gaspare Ciaccio
Plant engineering: Ing. Giuliano Verde

Photography by Michelle Äärlaht and Francesco Piazza, courtesy of Studio 4e


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