Positioned on a rural site in coastal Mornington Peninsula, Pt. Leo Estate emerges from within an established vineyard as a synthesis of fine wine, sculpture, architecture rural landscape and dramatic ocean views. Deeply embedded in context, the building rises from the ground as an abstract architectural gesture following the curving nature of the site, referencing the process of winemaking and taking on a subtle sculptural quality of its own.
The client for Pt. Leo Estate is a premium Australian wine producer as well as an avid art collector. The building brings the two together as a cellar door, restaurant and sculpture park, contextually framed by a dramatic rural property. Purposefully located on the highest point of this 135-hectare site, the concept was to invite the public to engage with an established vineyard, dramatic ocean views and a truly Australian landscape.
The curvaceous form is an abstract interpretation of wine pouring from a bottle and the organic cycle of the wine harvest. A bold landscaped gesture and design with fluid walls creates a strong dialog with the curvature of Inge King’s iconic sculpture, one of the client’s existing collection. The built form surfaces from the earth, as you transition through the forecourt the walls which hold back the extended vineyard. In summer months, long tendrils of vine cascade over to veil and anchor the building, reinforcing the design’s response to site and context. It is a building that is of the land, and in the land. The cracked granite forecourt surface, together with the asymmetrical placement of the single Bottle Tree is evocative of the Australian rugged, eroded and cracked landscape.
The entry arbour acts as a filter distinguished by an abundance of natural light coming through the timber slats in the ceiling to separate the forecourt from the radial pavilion. The interior embraces the radial faceted grid embedded in the architecture and expresses it through the walls, ceilings and joinery. The finishes were carefully crafted, responding to the tonal shifts in the adjacent paddocks and inspired from a deconstructed wine barrel, with a predominance of steel and timber lining the inner surfaces.
The building’s radial plan organises and separates the three briefed zones of the Entry Arbour, Cellar Door & Restaurants. The sweeping form articulates each area without the need for walls or partitions within a large open space and results in an internal experience honouring the client’s desire that each function concurrently with equal emphasis. Within the radial plan is nested the Cellar Door, Pt. Leo Restaurant and Laura Fine Dining. To the left of the entry, the Cellar Door uses the vineyard adjacency to facilitate conversations about the wine and extends to an outdoor terrace. To the right, the Fine Dining is named after Jaume Plensa’s Laura sculpture and offers a set menu inspired by the regional produce of Mornington Peninsular.
From within the building, there is a constant connection with the surrounding landscape and sculpture park, intentionally positioned in the sightlines between the two. Likewise, the building has an intentional humility when viewed from within the sculpture park. Its presence diminishes with the radial sweep of the building emphasising the art itself.
The sculpture park follows a meandering path as it wraps around the architecture creating an intermediary in the view between architecture and vineyard or ocean. Showcasing over 50 large-scale sculptures from local and international artists and curated by Geoffrey Edwards, the former director of Geelong Gallery, artists include Clement Meadmore, Deborah Halpern, Inge King, Tony Cragg, Jaume Plensa, Anthony Pryor and Augustine Dall’ava.
This project represents Jolson’s first public and hospitality commission in architecture, interior design and landscape master planning – a huge departure in scale and typology for the residential sector. The design celebrates its contextual Australian location and brings together architecture and landscape with a simple lasting gesture which evokes a sensory experience for its visitors.