The Domaine: The Berry farm and the visual artist
The Domaine’s history started in 1768, when François Gilbert gave up his innkeeper occupation to take over his step-father’s vineyard. Nonetheless, the Domaine as it now exists was thought and built by Philippe Gilbert, great-grandfather of the current owner.
The plan retained is simple and still appropriate: a vast oblong courtyard facing the dwelling place at the back and two long buildings standing on either side.
On the right, the warehouses and also the place where the grape harvest is conveyed, connected underground to the house’s vaulted cellars. On the left, the place where orders are processed, bottled wine stored and visitors welcomed.
These buildings, typical of the Berry architecture, are marked by their austere aspect.
Over generations, this place had lost some of its coherence, notably because of the addition of new buildings or anachronistic and disparate components.
With the complicity of Mario d’Souza, visual artist, we endeavoured to retrieve a sense of harmony from this vast grouping.
By whitewashing all the frontages and painting the woodwork with the same dusty grey colour, we intended to give back to the site developed in the 1900’s the consistency it was lacking.
Then we decided to develop the most recent constructions, inevitably necessary, but which didn’t fit in the original harmony.
Mario proposed to balance the “genuine” volumes with a playful game which echoes the Domaine’s activity: taking advantage of the colour by playing with both the shades of ochre to paint the 1970’s buildings and the stainless steel to set up the Domaine’s “style guide”, the front sign and the grapes and vines leaves suspended from the storehouse’s blind frontage.
This aesthetic choice pays a tribute to the Domaine’s original volumes and materials while placing our activity in a contemporary framework. Once you’ve read this long comment, you can compare with the following slide show whether our intentions were described with accuracy...