Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann create a pavilion that combines global art with California’s leading wines to enhance our appreciation and broaden our spatial perception


As the weather fluctuated for two days in the acclaimed Los Carneros wine region that spans Sonoma and Napa counties, gazing at a canopy made up of 832 layered glass panels became a kaleidoscopic journey for the senses and emotions, taking us through the environment. led. The 24 colors changed as the sunlight poured in, comforted the cloudy sky and the dripping rain left its tender residue on the earthly ground in the center of the cone-shaped canopy that opens to the sky,

Vertical Panorama Pavilion (2022), inspired by the history of circular calendars and designed by the Berlin-based studio Studio Other Spaces, founded by renowned artist Olafur Eliasson and acclaimed architect Sebastian Behmann, was celebrated Sunday and Monday with a series of intimate opening events and became the new centerpiece of The Donum Estate’s 200 acre Carneros Estate vineyards.

Centered on a north-facing oculus, the canopy’s glass panels display annual averages of the four meteorological parameters on The Donum Estate: solar radiation, wind intensity, temperature and humidity. Both functional and decorative, it screens off a specially equipped catering facility where visitors are encouraged to make their own connection between the wine and the art, and our deep rooted connection with the environment.

“As you’ll notice, we’re sunk,” said Eliasson, describing how the pavilion was integrated into the landscape. “Our bodies are (at) the level of roots. We are rooting, so to speak. When we’re standing or sitting, somehow we’re right above some kind of ground level where the nourishment… that takes place underground is actually what’s in our bodies. And as you all know, there are many of our bodies that are not necessarily human, but it is material and organic and just like the water… This is probably as organic as it gets because this is basically the place that’s already there. is.”

“You see artwork all around, scattered to the side…that takes up the story of the tasting and the wine making and the making, and (the pavilion) somehow adds a different perspective. It gives We also have a space where you can actually taste and actually perform,” says Behmann. “The design criteria are actually made up of ‘what is wine tasting?’ and how to approach that and turn that into a design, into something that you can physically experience, and so we took everything that’s on the site and used all the stories that were already on the site, like the walking, the plants, the sky, all of that is actually represented in this pavilion.”

As I surveyed the intricacies of the pavilion, I pondered the complexity of The Donum Estate Anderson Valley Estate Pinot Noir, its velvety, slightly ruby ​​hue, its playful raspberry nose, its blending of delicate berries, spiciness and earthiness, intense and elegant dancing balancing of light acidity and tannins, before finishing on an earthy note to connect me with the pristine terroir.

The landscape marries an arsenal of some 50 site-specific sculptures and artworks by contemporary masters from around the world, a protected white cube space inhabited by the imposing and amusing of Louise Bourgeois crouching spider, a forward-thinking production facility, and plenty of airy yet cozy spaces dedicated to learning about every facet of the award-winning, estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vintages and varieties. In a market flooded with so-called immersive and experiential environments, this is a refreshing reminder of what exists when values, best practices, aesthetics and passion triumph over irrelevant branding and consumer trends.

Along with an expansive view of San Pablo Bay, we glimpse the 1,070-foot-tall Salesforce Tower skyscraper, reminding us that we’re simultaneously close, yet removed, from downtown San Francisco, highlighting Eliasson’s involvement. and Behmann in spatial experiments underlined. The pair worked tirelessly during the pandemic, using virtual reality technology, which has become a “standard tool” in their practice, and collaborated via Zoom with Mei and Allan Warburg while they were quarantined in China for three years. The unveiling was a homecoming for the couple, who acquired the vineyard and began their oeno-aesthetic passion project in 2011. One of the world’s most comprehensive private sculpture collections that welcomes visitors by appointment, the Donum Collection has grown to include works by artists from 18 countries across six continents.

Ai Weiwei, whose Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads (2011) is a highlight of the sculpture garden, also creates artwork for the wine labels. The diverse collection, united by scale, includes Keith Haring’s King and queen (1987), originally installed on the site of the pavilion and now located on a hill where it catches our attention. The rust-coloured patina of corten steel is a starting point for Haring, who is known for his vibrant colours. The entwined figures borrow from chess pieces and remind us to seek the unexpected.

“We believe that when you make beautiful art, and you set it in a beautiful landscape, and you enjoy a good wine together, it is a much greater experience (than) if you enjoy it alone,” said Allan Warburg joyfully, embraced by Vertical panorama pavilion.

I traversed the site several times over two days on foot and from the rumbling seat of a golf cart, imbued with countless views and perspectives that challenged conventions of space and time. Navigating the twisting, biodynamic landscape of the organic vineyards interspersed with monumental sculptures while sipping a curated array of vintages was an indulgent, otherworldly delight. Each new twist led to discoveries, capturing alternative angles of sculptures, inhaling the surprising scent of heirloom tomato leaves, observing the habits of donkeys, chickens and sheep, and allowing myself to drift within a polyphony of chronotypes.

“There’s all this coming together of travel, there’s the general reaching out. This architecture represents the first phase, another important role, and I’d like to think that, through art and the general politics in winemaking, they have become more and more organic,” Eliasson said in a casual one-on-one conversation about lunch.

The global approaches to art, culture and entrepreneurship enhance the feeling of being transported far away from the tourist-driven atmosphere of downtown Napa. The Warburgs eschew art consultants and curators, relying on an organic approach to collecting art that springs from their personal networks.

In the United States, wine consumption is all too often just that, a retail barter deal with a brand. The experience is separate from culture, community and exploration of the grape, the vines, the process, the terroir, the weather, the winemaker and each individual and living being involved in production and distribution. Likewise, viewing art is too often a lazy attempt to decode what we… to see. There is much more to consider: the haptics, the vibrations, the sounds, how we feel, how we interact with the object and its dynamic environment, how we transcend time and space through the viewing process. Appreciating art is more than walking into a gallery or museum, just as enjoying wine is more than a five-step process of color, swirl, smell, taste, and taste. Combining wine tasting with art appreciation can revive our social consciousness, broaden the experience and integrate art with nature.

Landgoed Donum enables us to increase our spatial perception, in other words to be aware of our relationship and interaction with the environment around us. Learn how to plan your visit, whether you’re intrigued by the wine or the art, hopefully you’ll come across the interconnectedness.

“Donum is very much about community, and while we remain committed to producing the best Pinot Noir in California, we also bring together people with shared passions for fine wine, cultural art, design and sustainability,” said Angelica de Vere- Mabray, Chief Executive Officer of The Donum Estate.



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