The “Mouth Agape” Factor
There are a few things that always leave me stopped in my tracks, mouth agape and oblivious to everything around me, leading often to being knocked back to consciousness by a jostle and the trailing sound of someone saying, "get out the way, asshole". Those things tend to be a beautiful woman and a striking and monumental piece of architecture.
In places like Chicago, New York and Paris I can often be found on a corner, looking outward and upward, staring at some man-made, habitable piece of art and lose touch with the movement around me. But this doesn't happen so much in the case of man-made winemaking facilities. So I thought it pretty cool to come across DesignCrave and it's post on the Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World.
Among the Ten is Dominus, located in Yountville, California in Napa Valley. The author of the post says this about Dominus: "a stunning angular obelisk of natural stones contained within a tough
wire mesh. From afar, the building appears to be fully concrete, but
as you approach its stone character is revealed."
I remember the first time I laid eyes on the Dominus winery while driving south on Highway 29: "What the hell is that," I thought. But I was drawn to it. The Dominus structure is geometric and probably appeals to me for the same reasons that the many simple, concrete, vertical skyscrapers in Chicago do: extraordinary simplicity. But the thing about Dominus is that it has no relationship to its surroundings, making it somewhat gaudy in its "man-made-ness" and simple lines.
To me, architecture is most closely related to fashion where art is concerned. Many of the things that appear on the bodies of models on runways in Paris, Milan and New York will function as cover-up, but their primary function is interpretive. The same can be said of buildings like the Dominus Winery. It certainly does function as a winemaking facility, but it's primary purpose is to express an idea.
As some of you know I'm a huge fan of "Top Ten Lists". Give me a Pastis, a warm day and a few intelligent friends and I can while away an afternoon constructing them. For those of you who love wine and Top Ten lists, check out this post in DesignCrave. It's fun and thought provoking.