In Sonoma, Artist Olafur Eliasson and Architect Sebastian Behmann Have Built a Candy-Colored Pavilion Dedicated to Tasting Fine Wine

Situated in Carneros, between the Napa and Sonoma valleys, California’s Donum Estate has for the last two decades cultivated not only award-winning pinot noirs and chardonnays, but also one of the world’s largest accessible private sculpture collections. More than 50 site-specific works by artists from Doug Aitken to Ai Weiwei are displayed amid its organic and biodynamic vineyards, not to mention the white-cube conservation space housing Louise Bourgeois’s Crouching Spider and a monumental wall hanging by El Anatsui.

And so it is hardly surprising that the estate tapped Studio Other Spaces—the interdisciplinary, experimental art-and-design firm from the conceptual artist Olafur Eliasson and the architect Sebastian Behmann—to create its new wine-tasting pavilion, unveiled this week.

Vertical Panorama Pavilion at the Donum Estate, 2022, by Studio Other Spaces–Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann. Photo: Adam Potts.

“We first walked the land in 2019 with Olafur,” said Donum owners Mei and Allan Warburg in a statement. “The sun gave contrast to a spectrum of colors, we took a sip of our pinot noir, and at that moment, Vertical Panorama Pavilion was born.”

Eliasson is known for creating immersive installations such as The weather project (2003) at Tate London’s Turbine Hall, multisensory works that alter spatial perceptions. Likewise, with its colorful, conical glass canopy, the pavilion is a literal prism through which to experience the estate’s art, wine, and unique terroir.

“The specific design elements are abstractions of components taken from a vertical slice through the pavilion’s location on the estate,” Eliasson and Behmann said in a statement. “The pavilion maps out the surrounding ephemera—the soil, vegetation, wind, sun, atmosphere, and rain.”

© Vertical Panorama Pavilion at the Donum Estate, 2022, Studio Other Spaces – Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann.  Photo: Adam Potts.

Vertical Panorama Pavilion at the Donum Estate, 2022, by Studio Other Spaces–Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann. Photo: Adam Potts.

With its north-facing oculus, the canopy was inspired by circular calendars. Its 832 laminated-glass panels convey the estate’s annual meteorological averages—of humidity, temperature, solar radiance, and wind intensity—in 24 hues that reflect the surrounding vineyards (and olive groves, and lavender fields).

The pavilion hosts a “Transcend” wine-tasting experience where visitors can sip Donum’s single-vineyard, single-appellation varietals while taking in the art en plein airwith panoramic views out to San Pablo Bay.

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