The new Antinori winery is located halfway between Siena and Florence, in the beautiful landscape of the Chianti hills. Designed by Archea Associati, it enhances a singular territory representing a cultural expression of the wine production. The decision to build a new winery into the Bargino region came from the need to renew the historic wine cellars in Florence. So it has been decentralized from the urban environment while remaining in the territory of San Casciano Val di Pesa.
The concept of experimenting a difficult but necessary reconciliation between the natural and the artificial arises the proposal of an underground space, which hides all those elements that usually belong to the urban construction. Offices and exhibition areas are distributed along the first horizontal floor. Here we have a museum, an auditorium, a library and various tasting rooms that also allow retailing. Upstairs there are storages and bottling spaces. The restaurant and vinsanteria are located alongside the terrace.
The horizontal cuts open themselves on a beautiful panorama on the Tuscan hills. The internal structure of the wine cellars is supported by terracotta vaults, where the wine ages in barriques, in optimal temperature and humidity conditions and in darkness, which reminds a sacred atmosphere.
The composition echoes the ancient sinuous profiles of the hills, and the light enters by two horizontal planes without altering the landscape of the surroundings.
Walking along the terraces, a theatrical atmosphere invades the space. In modern theater the stage arises above the level of the audience, in order to focus on the single scene of the show and its actors. The condition, in this case, is different as the atmosphere here belongs to a more ancestral arena, where spectators sit around the actors, blurring the boundary between stage and audience. The relationship created between the two position is fair. And this is the condition in which we are immersed thanks to this place: the glass walls of the winery observe the spectacular Tuscan landscape and the hills themselves can only imagine which are the secrets of wine Antinori, hidden into its depth grooves.
The complex blends architecture, engineering and new technology that goes far beyond the visible. Indeed, an area of about 40,000 square meters of underground space, covered by an overhang of 21 meters, which supports cultivated vineyards, and a spiral staircase weighing about 105 tons of steel, are interesting technological experiments. The design is based on a deep relation with this land, a complex and arduous relationship to achieve the synthesis between nature and architecture. The solution gains a new architectural character that neither desires to imitate the natural landscape, nor arrogantly competes with the existing reasons of the context.
Could a romantic vision of a dominating and pervasive nature be a better option? Instead, the new Antinori winery, with its balanced interpenetration of the vineyard and the built construction, looks like an industry embraced by the Tuscan hills. Or perhaps a hill that becomes an industrial machine. It is an outstanding question, as if those two deep grooves cutting the hills of Chianti were suggesting a pause for reflection rather than a proper answer. We eventually did not talk about wine. After all we are in the Tuscan region of Chianti and its wine is well known to all of us.