Involving a complete overhaul of Chandon Australia’s cellar door – including the retail spaces, bar, tasting room and dining – the project required a considered and spatially intuitive response through the implementation of dynamic and brand-immersive experiences. The new fitout was anchored by Chandon’s brand values and French-born heritage, as well as the contemporary context with production and cellar door in the Yarra Valley, Australia.
Foolscap Studio took cues from Chandon’s universally applied méthode traditionnelle process. Drawing upon the stunning surrounding landscape as it shifts through the seasons, the designers applied a fearless approach to the use of colour in the interior; culminating in the delivery of a fresh and relevant environment for the existing loyalists and locals, as well as reaching out to a new market of millennials, food and wine lovers, and those unfamiliar with the brand. However, as product purchase is the main drawcard for visitors, international in particular, the retail space was a critical component of the brief to resolve. It was central to the design and layout of the scheme.
The client sought a unique and dynamic retail experience. Foolscap Studio relocated the retail space to a prime position in the centre of the existing building, installing bespoke and sculptural product display joinery, and implementing a portable sales counter. The design cleverly masks the 1980s industrial structure of voluminous spaces, vaulted ceilings and hard surfaces (retained for budget management purposes). The original site was therefore noisy and difficult to navigate; factors which were addressed through subtle acoustic treatments and rigorous studies in space planning, intuitive wayfinding and staff serviceability.
Several main concepts informed the aesthetic and spatial direction for Chandon. Firstly, the designers explored the science of ‘Alchemy’ by using a medley of metal finishes and textures. The notion of ‘Compression and Release’ sees enclosed spaces sit adjacent to light, vibrant spaces, while the juxtaposition of open/woven materials against solid joinery alludes to density and lightness in sparkling wine. The concept of ‘Dynamic, Kinetic and Buoyant’ is manifested by suspended elements with a gravity-defying effect, and references the playful, unpredictable nature of bubbles.
Touch points of French heritage – including intimate banquette seating with a warm material palette of aged leather, velvet and brass lighting – relate back to the brand’s rich history. The championing of local materiality and makers (for example, native timber, Queensland marble, fabric printed with work by indigenous artists and a kinetic hanging mobile made by Melbourne-based metalwork craftspeople) celebrates the product’s links to the new world.
Photography: Tom Blachford