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Philippe Starck designs for Chateau Carmes Haut-Brion unveiled

Philippe Starck's vision for the new Chateau Carmes Haut-Brion winery was unveiled at the inauguration ceremony held this week in Bordeaux.

The project, by architects Philippe Starck and Luc-Arsene-Henry, is due to be finished by summer 2015. The different elements to the building are being constructed off-site, and will then be assembled on site.

The ceremony featured the laying of the first stone of the new Chateau Carmes Haut-Brion winery, described as ‘entirely symbolic,’ by major Alain Juppé at the event, ‘considering that the building will be in fact glass, metal and concrete’.

Chateau Carmes Haut-Brion has been owned Patrice Pichet – head of one of France’s largest property companies – since 2010.

Speaking at the inauguration, Pichet told decanter.com that, ‘as the only chateau with a downtown Bordeaux postcode, we want this to be a reflection of the city as well as the wine, a showcase of its skills in wine and architecture. We are at the beginning of a 20 year restoration plan for Carmes Haut-Brion.’

Its city centre location was reflected by the presence of four mayors of different communes – Bordeaux itself, plus Mérignac, Talence and Pessac. And to underline its location, a former entrance and gates are being re-opened to give access to the chateau from the Bordeaux city 33000 postcode.

The drawings for the new gravity-led winery show a boat-shaped building spread over 2000m2 over four levels, ‘floating’ in the middle of an ornamental lake, accessed by footbridges – intended to symbolize the original maritime route to market for Bordeaux wines. A tasting room will be located on the top floor, with a terrace for viewing the Chateau Carmes Haut-Brion building.

Technical director Guillaume Pouthier confirmed that the budget for the new winery is €9 million. A separate winery for Le Clos de Carmes Haut-Brion is being built in Martillac. Pouthier also confirmed that both Pichet and Starck have homes in the Cap Ferret peninsula near Bordeaux, and that their association for this project grew out of ‘personal friendship’.

Written by Jane Anson

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