IRVINA LEW

Travel Writer & Author

Tag: Design

Irvina Lew Travel Writer Wine Uruaguay

Bodega Garzón

Boutique winery Bodega Garzón—located just west of the tiny southeast Uruguayan village from which it takes its name—is the world’s first to seek LEED certification for its entire facility. International vintner Alejandro Bulgheroni (also an oil billionaire and founder of food and forestry company Agroland) acquired the 500-acre property with his wife Bettina in 1999, and the recently opened $85 million winery estate has already received praise for its design, technology, and sustainable practices. The complex—designed by Argentina-based architects Bórmida & Yanzón with interiors from San Francisco’s Backen Gillam & Kroeger—encompasses a 205,000-square-foot winery and production facility; an open-fire, 120-seat restaurant; retail space; a tasting room; and caves for barrel storage, private dining, and events.

Bodega Garzón incorporates elements drawn from a variety of sources, including underground spaces typical of Old World wineries in France and Italy, and cutting-edge technology innovated by New World wineries in Argentina, Australia, and the U.S. “We took all these elements and combined them into one harmonious whole,” Bulgheroni explains.

The architectural plan features different sized asymmetrically shaped rooms that frame panoramic vistas of ancient rock formations, brooks, fields, and mountain ranges, plus the vineyard landscape enhanced by more than 25 non-invasive native species. Bulgheroni, whose vision was to create a world-class, limited-production winery—with an onsite hotel in the works—also enlisted Carlos Hartmann, his director of construction (and an architect with Samconsult, whose LEED-accredited associates worked closely with Bórmida & Yanzón) to develop his forward-thinking vision. Bulgheroni and Hartmann expect to learn what level of LEED certification the site will achieve by mid-2017.

The structures’ placement and technological elements exalt light and shade, reduce water consumption (with a water feature for evaporation, rainwater used for irrigation, and low-flow plumbing fixtures); generate energy thanks to windmills and Photovoltaic and thermal panels; and ameliorate temperature extremes with locally sourced materials such as granite, concrete, and stone. And to help minimize carbon emissions, Bodega Garzón offers company transportation for its approximately 250 employees, carpooling options, and has plans to provide charging stations for electric vehicles.

Just as the building was constructed to integrate into the landscape, the interiors function for people. “The idea was to transition between the architecture and the user,” notes Hartmann. “Technology is there, hidden, to serve convenience and efficiency, not to be flashy.” Inside, explains Cristof Eigelberger, a former associate architect at Backen Gillam & Kroeger, raw steel, honed marbles, and brass accents combine with muted, earthy and caramel colors that reflect nature. “We added layers of rich leathers, textiles, and lighting to bring the space alive and comfortable and to make guests feel at home,” he says. Along with a wide variety of materials sourced nearby—including more granite, concrete, and sustainable woods—there are locally produced decorative items, such as lanterns, vases, and baskets and custom elements, from lighting fixtures and hardware to tilt doors and rugs.

“We took into account the connection with the land and created the design with very warm, simple and elegant interiors that draw the eye equally in and out,” Eigelberger adds. “It is important that the spaces stay fluid with a soft transition, integrating the landscape and vineyards during the day, then transitioning into an intimate layered glow in the evening.”

Read the full story Hospitality Design

Three Dimensional Design

Showing off the recently renovated guest bathroom of her Great Neck home, Evelyn Benatar of New York Interior Design said she started by following the same rules she always recommends to her clients. “I took photographs of the ‘before’ space, measured it carefully and hired a reliable contractor.” Having remodeled a number of bathrooms, she wanted to incorporate the ultimate in comfort, like a thermostat-regulated heated floor, but keep the overall aesthetic modern, clean and crisp.

Because floor and wall tiles are her typical starting points for bathroom remodels, Benatar’s first choices were made at Porcelanosa USA. She chose oversized 24-inch-square, cement-grey colored tiles for the floor. She used 2-inch-squares of the same style for the floor inside the thicker than usual 1⁄2-inch glass-enclosed shower stall.

As the bathroom’s focal point, Benatar chose curvilinear tiles to capture a modern three-dimensional design motif. The stark white textured effect of the perfectly matched tiles gives the illusion of a forest of palm fronds. The trick in installing them is matching the peaks and valleys: each tile has a unique, raised pattern that bleeds off the edges. Proper mounting requires all four sides of each tile meeting up to complete the pattern.

“One of the questions clients always ask me is, ‘How far should the tile go up?’ I’ve been doing tile all the way up to the ceiling— or none at all—for years. I think it’s a very dated look to have tiles that stop mid-way up the wall.” Expert tile work is absolutely mandatory, especially on walls where every flaw is noticed and the patterns must match seamlessly. For clients who don’t embark on the floor-to-ceiling look, Benatar allocates the budget towards other fashionable options or a simple, durable coat of paint.

“I usually use wall covering or paint on the walls,” she said. Contrary to the papers of the past, Benatar has found that most current coverings will not come down in a bathroom when applied correctly and has incorporated the element in projects as well.

After deciding on a Cameron 3 deep soaking tub, a ToTo sculpture-shaped toilet, the farm sink with 47-inch Duravit wall-mounted vanity and a spa-like rainfall shower head, she selected the accessories. Elements like the toilet paper holder, towel rods and hooks “must follow suit” with the polished chrome, nickel or modern brass materials chosen for the tub, shower and sink faucets. Benatar worked with Ferguson Enterprises to ensure delivery of all the components before demolition began to avoid any surprises when they arrived (or the cost of delays and rush orders on replacements).

The new bathroom is significantly more light-filled. The previous glass tiles above the tub on the outside wall were replaced with a 45-inch tall by 37-inch wide window, the largest that the construction space allowed. To complete the modern treatment, Benatar framed the pane with a fresh, flat 5.5” casing, which although proportionate to the footprint of the glass, is oversized enough to invoke a dramatic visual.

The makeover also feels a good deal larger than the “before” space, even though the dimensions (10 feet by 5.5 feet) remained the same. During the demolition phase, the mirrored soffit above the tub, an elongated vanity top and a half wall next to the shower were gutted to add to the space-enhancing effect.

The bright, sleek result has an added pizzazz thanks to the crisp white color, the textured tiles, the pure sculptural lines of the fixtures and a vase overflowing with an array of orange tulips.

Interview: 5 Questions for Ron Arad

Hospitality Ron Arad

As published in Hospitality Design – March/April 2015
Watergate Hotel Washington DC
Architect/designer: Ron Arad

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