The winery took 12 months to build and opened in June
Hong Kong-based firm MAP Architecture & Planning delivered the master plan, architecture and intereriors for the Domaine Chandon Ningxia Winery, which took 12 months to build and was completed last June.
This is China's first winery dedicated to the production of premium sparkling wine in the Ningxia Hui region. MAP's striking modern design for client Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific takes its inspiration from the dramatic Ningxia landscape and buried vines in the winter fields. It fits well with the arid landscape and offers a stark contrast to the other more European-looking wineries in this expanding wine-growing region.
The 6,300 sq m project comprised developing the winery's master plan along with the architecture and interior design for the wine production and technical areas, office space and the public tasting areas and dining rooms.
The key focus was to present a design to encapsulate the client's prestigious brand. A modernist aesthetic was taken using exaggerated horizontality to integrate the building with the flat desert floor and the He Lan (Wild Horse) mountain backdrop. A faux pisé de terre wall provides a bold and striking first impression. It is offset by the wall of the fermentation cellar which has a corrugation effect in imitation of the vineyards it overlooks.
"Design challenges included the location, weather and landscape", said Ed Billson, MAP Principal and lead architect on the project. "Wine is traditionally stored underground. However, with the harsh Ningxia winters and flood-prone summers, fermentation and cellaring underground was not an ideal option for the new winery."
In response, MAP placed the second fermentation cellar above ground and then buried it in hundreds of tonnes of the same earth that protects and nourishes the vines.
The interiors have been designed to reflect the luxury brand, incorporating a sumptuous palate of materials and textures with colours chosen to match the hues of the wines. A grand staircase takes visitors to a roof terrace offering 180° views across the vineyards, desert oasis and mountains.
The project plays an important role in the wine growing region, bringing a prominent wine brand to China; one of the world's most lucrative wine buying markets. Although the winery was officially opened in June 2013, the first bottles will not be available until next year.