Ethereal, enigmatic, atmospheric, rising magnificently from the mists of the river; branches of the vine, the flow of wine, fields of vines… Inspired by the spirit of the place, dedicated to the spirit of wine.
How can we fit in with the spirit of the area? The former wet docks are so intimately associated with the city’s industrial heritage. This place belongs to the river. The water is its life force, the power of nature reclaiming these man-made banks.
— XTU architects
Visitors are always conscious of the presence of Bordeaux. The panoramic view through the windows reminds visitors where they are: in a city where wine reigns supreme, and which provides the point of departure for a voyage into the world of wine.
As the broad river winds gently towards its destiny, one of its curves forms a special stronghold: the entrance to the port, the gateway to the city. Such a place needs to be watched over by a benevolent landmark, a guardian angel for the port and the city. A keystone — a vertical icon on this horizontal skyline, a beacon that can be seen far and wide commanding the banks of the river.
A shape as smooth and rounded as an ancient pebble, weightless lines rolling majestically down towards the water. The essence of fluidity. This form is clothed in swathes of light, shimmering and fluctuating from purple to gold as the viewer moves.
The exhibition starts at the top of a sweeping curving staircase. The layout is designed to evoke the idea of a ‘whirlwind’ – like the circular movement which awakens a wine before tasting.
Laid out along a circular route the exhibition starts at the Forum and eventually arrives back there after a journey through a flowing space with no corners. Everything the visitor experiences reflects this motion – the forms, the light, the images, and texts.
The glass walls offer a spectacular view of the river Garonne, flowing serenely around the building. Inside this sense of flow is recreated between obstacles that seem to have been smoothed and rounded by the passing water.