Mendoza Art District Restaurant and art gallery in Mendoza vineyard

Mendoza, Argentina project: 2013

client: Mendoza Art District MAD
author: VA. VER STUDIO
cooperation: Karolina Małozięć, Jose Domingo - Morales, Diego Licea, Nuno Oliveira, Iwona Rożnowska
The conceptual project of a restaurant and an art gallery in one building was created as a response to the first intentional crowd-sourcing architectural contest organised by the Mendoza Art District in Argentina. The main objective of the competition was to create a concept of a restaurant building with a wide range of cultural functions. This building was supposed to be a symbol and a distinguishing sign of the MAD cultural institution and of the whole Mendoza region which is one of the nine world's capitals of wine production.

The idea of the project is based on the analogy between the production of grape vines and the development of art and architecture. The form and structure of the building imitate vine shoots which are fighting their way through the soil to reach sun's rays. The building creates a friendly background for works of art on display. This is facilitated by the sense of harmony with the surrounding nature and the landscape full of vineyards of the Mendoza region. 

The building powerfully influences all senses of the visitors by creating different atmosphere during consecutive stages of a carefully planned journey through experience. Guests are ushered in through the external ramp to the -1 level of the building. The underground is dark, cool and humid. It receives only the light from the skylight through which fall sun's rays in the summer and raindrops in the rainy season. The internal winding ramp, which is a part of the exposition, leads upward to the proper entrance zone. Afterwards, guests are ushered into the bar and restaurant room where glazed facades are framing the view of surrounding vineyards. The exit from the main hall leads to a platform on which a wine tasting zone and a grill are located. 
Walking to the viewing terrace placed above the area is the last stage of the journey. Open space intensifies the feeling of ease and freedom and provides a sharp contrast with the dark atmosphere of the beginning of this journey. The end of the journey symbolically reminds that such as life develops and fights its way to surface in search of light also art - which comes into being in the artist's imagination - sprouts, grows and blossoms to be displayed and admired.  As the finest wine, art needs cold and darkness as well as heat and light.