Foolscap Studio completes new spaces for Domaine Chandon champagne bar in Australia
Domaine Chandon, the only Australian sparkling specialists with genuine French heritage, approached Melbourne-based studio Foolscap to design a new concept for their bar, dining, tasting and retail spaces in Australia’s Yarra Valley.
“Inspired by the uplifting ritual of spontaneously popping the cork, we’ve celebrated heritage with a fresh affair fit for the 21st century. Views of the incredible surrounding landscape were a natural starting point for considering the visitor experience, the range of which will traverse loyalists and locals, diehard food and wine thrill-seekers,‘gramming millennials and new discoverers alike. Fearless application of colour reflects the extraordinary tonal shifts in the environs throughout the seasons. Budget management required that the existing 1980s industrial structure – a voluminous space between vaulted ceilings and hard surfaces – be retained. As such, subtle acoustic treatment was imperative and the interior architecture was integrated through bold design gestures. The idea of alchemy was fundamental to our conceptual approach. The transformation of ordinary base metals into gold: what better metaphor for the magical production of sparkling wine? We explored the ways in which materials react to the passing of time, to various processes and to each other. The results of our investigations are reflected in the application of different metals and metal finish treatments. Similarly, the process of transformation in winemaking informed the design of each space. ‘Compression/Release’ is revealed in enclosed, intimate spaces – the Tasting Room for example – and airy, exuberant zones, like the Lounge Bar. Open, woven materials are juxtaposed with the solidity of weighty, opaque substances to allude to the duality of density and lightness in sparkling wine. These ideas were also rendered in a style that pays homage to Chandon’s French heritage, while retaining a youthfulness that speaks to its relatively recent establishment within the Champagne house’s lineage. Banquettes upholstered in aged leather and velvet, with brass light fittings, suggest a Parisian bistro aesthetic. While we often look internationally and through time for inspiration, we always aim to celebrate and work with local materiality and makers. Spotted Gum timber flooring and joinery adds a soft character and warmth against the remarkable textured patterning of Queensland ‘Dreamtime’ marble and printed textiles by indigenous artists. A critical component of the brief to resolve – and central to the design and layout of our scheme – was the retail space. We worked closely with local fibreglass and metalwork manufacturers to realise our product display system, installing bespoke, sculptural joinery, portable plinths and framed, up-lit fibreglass screens for product storage and display. Exceeding key aspects of the client’s brief, which entailed the creation of a unique and dynamic retail experience, their product is now showcased in a creative setting that elevates the retail experience to the highest standard. The pièce de résistance – a large, ethereal mobile hanging over the central raised banquette – was developed in collaboration with local metal craftspeople. Dynamic, buoyant and delicately weighted, this suspended kinetic sculpture gently bobs to the rhythm of the bar and projects a sparkling patina, a playful take on the unpredictable nature of bubbles,” says Foolscap Studio