Chateau La Coste
By Kirsten Kiser
Château la Coste is a place of wine, art and architecture that will continue to evolve as new projects and installations are developed.
In 2004 an idea was born among the vines of Château la Coste. The vision was to create a special place where art, architecture and land came together. Artists and architects from all over the world were invited to visit Château la Coste and explore the beauty of the landscape. They were encouraged to choose a place in the domaine that spoke directly to them and were given the freedom to create something that would live there.
As an early contributor, Tadao Ando embraced the ambition and spirit of Château La Coste from the outset. He has designed three major projects as well as the front gate and origami benches. Ando’s profound respect for nature and holistic approach to both building and site are evident at Château La Coste.
The Art Centre by Tadao Ando welcome visitors to the domaine. Containing a car park, reception area, bookshop and cafe, the concrete and glass building is surrounded by a shallow pool of water.
The building embraces the domaine and the largest of the wine fields through a V-shaped plan and a central colonnade that continues beyond the building and into the vines themselves.
The use of water and glass, together with the slim and elegant proportions, temper the hard nature of the concrete, lighten the overall effect, and create playful reflections of light.
Crouching Spider 6695, 2003
Louise Bourgeois’ steel and bronze Crouching Spider is installed in the pool of water set against the Provencal landscape. In the background Jean Nouvel’s two curved winemaking structures.
Also placed in Ando’s shallow water pool, both Hiroshi Sugimoto’s and Alexander Calder’s sculptures compliment the serene environment.
Hiroshi Sugimoto has been widely celebrated for his work as a photographer and in recent years he has diversified his practice to include architecture and sculpture. After an introduction to a collection of late 19th Century German mathematical models he began producing his own series of mathematical sculptures. He employs high precision metalworkers to fabricate almost exact representations of mathematical formulae.
Small Crinkly, 1976
The tension between abstraction and representation that is seen throughout Calder’s work is especially evident in Small Crinkly. Vivid geometric elements, both big and small are cut from industrial metals and employed in a mobile system that is secured to a large, stable base. Rather than pure abstraction, the sculpture’s freedom of movement in open air, at the mercy of the wind is akin to the movement of tree branches or even birds, and demonstrates Calder’s fixation with nature.
As the first major architect or artist to work at Chateau La Coste, Jean Nouvel‘s designs for the winery have been instrumental to the development of the domaine.
The two curved polished aluminum structures, housing the latest technology in winemaking, are connected underground. Above ground, the grapes are pressed and the wine is bottled; while underground a network of pipes and stainless steel vats provide storage. The vineyard’s organic grapes are overseen by the biodynamic winemaker Matthieu Cosse.
Neufeld admires the roman engineering structures that one finds often punctuating the French Provence landscape. Two small Dunny Hall slate stone bridges vary from one single arch on the smaller part of the golly to two exact arches on the wider part. Traditional engineering methods have been used so that nothing but the pull of gravity and the resistance of the stone holds the structure together.
Wall of Light Cubed, 2007
Scully’s Wall of Light paintings stem from the artist’s memory of light and shadow playing on ancient Mayan ruins. This monumental sculpture continues his interest in light. Over 1000 tones of granite from Dimpomar Quarry, Portugal was cut and constructed into a tight cuboid composition that echoes the striped format of his paintings. However, unlike his paintings, Scully has the accepted “accidents” of the natural granite to create a rich variety of textures. In his own words, he has “forced all the space out of it. Everything is made as densely as possible.
Three giant sheets of mild steel have been installed into the hillside at different levels and at irregular angles to each other. They appear almost as a set of three steps, fanning out from the slope, but on closer inspection they do not follow such a methodical pattern.
Instead, Aix may be read as a disruption to the pastoral surroundings. The heavy industrial material, the larger than man size scale, and the step arrangement invites each individual to consider their own position within this vast natural environment.
Multiplied Resistance Screened, 2010
Multiplied Resistance Screened is an installation of moveable walls of multicolored metal, that is neither architecture nor sculpture; or perhaps it is both. Gillick’sfamiliar language of simple, manufactured forms create a bright playful exercise in space, color and aesthetics.
At the summit of the hill there is a small chapel that has been restored to the original design, using the original stone. Although historians have not yet been able to confirm the date of the chapel, they speculate that it might date back to the 16th Century and may have functioned as a pilgrimage or processional chapel. Tadao Ando’s design protects the original structure and maintains the tranquil mood of the site.
Two trademark Ando concrete walls meet at a 45 degree angle and enclose a garden area. Beyond this wall, a glass and steel structure encase the original chapel but allow light to enter at specific points to illuminate the interior. The structure also creates a variety of reflective surfaces that play between the boundaries of a small, dark interior and the vast landscape views.
Croix, 2007 – 2008
Situated next to the Chapel, Jean-Michel Othoniel’s sculpture references the sacred and the profane; and the history of such decorative works in the Catholic faith. In recent years Murano glass has become the signature media for Jean-Michel Othoniel’s sculptures and he has employed it in a variety of contexts and forms. The significance that Murani glass has to his practice is exemplified in this simple, but effective form of a red cross. Croix employs both site and media to mark a monumental, bold image against the provencal landscape.
Self Portrait: Cat in a Barrel, 2013
|“The Chateau La Coste project was based on the idea of self-portraiture, not how I look but how I feel”|
The work consists of a narrow walkway that leads to a platform with a 360° view of the Provencal countryside and the Luberon valley. At the center of this platform lies what appears to be a simple oak, wine barrel. The militaristic, industrial aesthetic of the construction belies the softness at the heart of the piece, which becomes apparent when the viewer looks inside the mysterious wine barrell to find a small, delicate cat.
Each part of Tunga’s three part sculpture has a double arch framework, made from locally sourced Rogne stone. Various elements have been attached or suspended from these frameworks via an ironwork system. The first element suspends one large piece of quarts, from the Peruvian Amazon, the second suspends a giant glass prism (fabricated in Czech Republic) and has a mass of filing magnets assembled haphazardly to the base. The final element suspends smaller pieces of Amazonian quartz within an iron net and has iron filings neatly arranged in a grid at its base. As is often the case in his work, individual elements are presented within systems that establish an associative interplay of symbolism that excite the imagination.
Oak Room, 2009
Andy Goldsworthy produces site-specific sculptures from natural materials that focuses on man’s relationship with our natural environment and maybe considered within the loose term, Land Art. The process of production, and often destruction, is central to this practice. At Chateau La Coste, Goldsworthy has created an extraordinary permanent installation within the hillside, using oak from a cleared forest, natural engineering and craft skills. He has been so successful in integrating this monumental sculpture, that discovering the work is in itself a surprise.
Music Pavilion, 2008
The structure is anchored by four massive steel columns and is comprised of large timber planks and a complex network of overlapping glass planes that create a dramatic, multi-dimensional space. Inside the Pavilion, glass canopies are hung from the wooden structure to protect the interior from wind and rain and provide for shade during sunny days. The Pavilion is much like an amphitheater, designed to serve as a place for live events.
In addition to the terraced seating there are five elevated seating pods, which are accessed around the perimeter of the Pavilion. These pods serve as visual markers enclosing the street and can be used as stages, private viewing platforms and dining areas.
Faux-Pas is a 545 cm tall yellow phallic totem that also functions as a seat along the domain walking routes. Influenced by Performance Art of the 1960s, West rejected the traditionally passive way of viewing art and often blurs the distinction between sculpture and furniture. The bright yellow color and overt sexual reference of Faux-pas is also typical of his work which often employs the vague and the decrepit in relation to discourses around the body, psychoanalysis, philosophy and art.
Michael Stipe has achieved remarkable success as a founding member and lead singer of the band, R.E.M. Also a visual artist Stipe has fabricated seven bronze foxes for Chateau La Coste, that have been carefully situated amongst the trees of the hillside.
Calix Mieus Inebrians, 2009
The distinctive motifs of bowls and other vessels have appeared throughout Guggi”s oeuvre and at Chateau La Coste he has created one of these motifs as a colossal sculpture. The title quotes Psalm 22 of the Bible, meaning My Cup Makes Me Drunk and the sculpture takes the form of a bronze bowl or urn. It references winemaking at Chateau La Coste and its antique history.
The smooth irregular form of this stainless steel, kinetic sculpture, is like a drop of water or wine. The title may also be read as if the sculpture dropped from the sky. The highly polished surface and almost invisible pedestal allows it to hover and gives it an otherworldly quality. Visitors are invited to push the sculpture as Shannon has designed a sophisticated mechanism to allow the heavy form to rotate and rock on the thin pedestal.
Meditation Bell, 2012
Paul Matisse, a “Sound Sculptor” among many other things, describes his Meditation Bell.
“It is a heavy aluminum tube about twenty feet long that rests horizontally across the tops of two supporting columns, some twelve feet above the ground. A centered rope hangs beneath it. Pulling on this rope puts four heavy hammers into motion; pulling several times in succession is enough to send them upwards where they all strike the Bell simultaneously. After the impact, the high cylindrical bell makes a marvelous sound, a deep vibration that is quite wonderful both to hear and to feel. (For the musical among you the Bell’s note is a 2F, the second F below middle C, ringing at 87.3 Hertz) After it sounds, it goes on and on for a long and satisfying time.”
Four Cubes to Contemplate our Environment, 2008-2011
In contrast to the Chapel, Ando’s third project at Chateau La Coste lies on a lower site of the domain on the descent from the pathway into a valley; and is constructed primarily from timber. The pavilion itself was designed for Chateau La Coste to house an artwork by Ando entitled Four Cubes to contemplate Our Environment, which was originally exhibited in the Kennedy Centre, Washington as part of the city’s Japan! festival in 2008.
Houses 6 x 6 / 6 x 9, 1945
Chateau La Coste now houses two of the few surviving prefabricated houses that Jean Prouvé designed for the Lorraine area in 1945. Commissioned in response to the postwar refugee housing shortage, the 450 pavilions, the 6×6 metres and 6×9 metres pavilions were crucial in Prouvé’s ambitious plan to alter the building process from craft to a mechanical industry; and was followed by the famous flat-pack houses for Africa.
At Chateau La Coste the two houses one 6×9 meter and one 6×6 meter have been restored under the supervision of Jean Prouvé’s son, Nicolas Prouvé so that they can be situated outdoors and used by the public. Working with Nicholas Prouvé has helped preserve the spirit of the pavilions and they can now function as shelters rather than exhibition pieces for display. One pavilion houses a selection of Prouvé furniture the other an a library with a table designed by Jean Nouvel.
The houses are placed on either side of a 17th Century Vietnamese teahouse pavilion. The vegetable garden is being designed by Louis Benech, who gained international renown in the early 1990s as a member of the team that revamped the Jardin des Tuileries. Benech is also designing a future fruit orchard.
Sou Fujimoto has staked out an area for the world smallest and largest museum. One kilometer of small cubes each exhibition one work of art.
Three large-scale architectural sculptures by LA artist Tony Berlant, created in the mid-1960s, will be exhibited in individual glass structures designed by Frank Gehry. The project is under construction.
In the planning phase are projects by an amazing list of architects and artists which include; Kengo Kuma, Ai Weiwei, Junya Ishigami, Amanda Levete, Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Oscar Niemeyer, Per Kirkeby, James Turrell.
Visit the website of Chateau La Coste