Monday, 26 March 2007 13:16

Marques de Riscal | icon 040 | October 2006

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words Daniel West

A Spanish winery is home to a luxury, 43-bedroom hotel designed by Frank Gehry. The hotel comprises two buildings on the family-owned Marqués de Riscal estate, in the region of La Rioja in northern Spain.

A Spanish wineryis home to a luxury, 43-bedroom hotel designed by Frank Gehry. The hotel comprises two buildings on the family-owned Marqués de Riscal estate, in the region of La Rioja in northern Spain.

Gehry Partners designed the hotel to replace a villa used as a retreat by the Marqués de Riscal board of directors. The original estate was built in 1858 by then prestigious architect Ricardo Bellsola, and winemaking facilities remain onsite, in addition to offices and a smaller retreat building for the owners. “It’s almost like an ancestral gathering place,” says project architect Andy Liu.

The main part of the hotel is built in local sandstone, and features a canopy composed of interweaving furls of polished stainless steel and pink and gold anodised titanium. The canopy is supported by a three-tiered substructure of angled steel columns. The trademark Gehry curves were achieved by attaching the steel and titanium panels (made of one-by-two-metre sheets) to preset beams. “They curve naturally when placed upon the substructure,” reveals Liu.

“We were aiming for something ephemeral in nature, with movement,” he continues. “[The canopy] was hand-modelled hundreds of times in paper and wood. The aim was to get something that created colourful reflections on the surrounding buildings, like a watercolour.”

In addition to 14 bedrooms, the main building houses a 1,000-book library, a Michelin-starred restaurant with terrace, a rooftop lounge and two wine bars that serve vintages from the estate’s cellars. An annex, containing an additional 29 bedrooms and French cosmetics brand Caudalie’s “Vinothérapie” spa, offering wine-related therapies, is connected to the main building via a glass-sided walkway

All interiors were completed by Gehry Partners, with the exception of the spa. Bedrooms are decorated with leather and untreated maple, with dark marble in the bathrooms. The hotel opened at the beginning of September.

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