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P. 44

At the heart of the Dou­ro Val­ley in Por­tu­gal, Quin­ta Da Côrte vi­neyard’s new wine store is Pierre Yo­va­no­vitch’s first ar­chi­tec­tu­ral project. In ad­di­tion, re­no­va­ting the es­tate’s re­si­dence and trans­for­ming it in­to a gues­thouse was the per­fect exer­cise to show off his tra­de­mark style.

Pierre Yo­va­no­vitch poses in the Ca­sa’s small li­ving room, where it is cus­to­ma­ry to sit and sip the vi­neyard’s port pro­duc­tion. His simple and ele­gant ap­pea­rance is per­fect­ly in tune with his de­si­gns: chic, dis­tin­gui­shed and to­tal­ly unique. His work is cha­rac­te­ri­zed by a mi­ni­ma­list aes­the­tic with a twist, a subtle dis­so­nant touch that takes the project to ano­ther le­vel en­ti­re­ly, gua­ran­teeing its charm, cha­rac­ter and ne­ces­sa­ry uni­que­ness. It boasts a bold ar­chi­tec­tu­ral di­men­sion in which ex­treme ele­gance is trea­ted wi­thout os­ten­ta­tion and with a cer­tain ri­gor in its lines, tem­pe­red by the gentle curves of a piece of fur­ni­ture, the soft­ness of beau­ti­ful and au­then­tic ma­te­rials, or an in­tri­guing work of art. For the Quin­ta Da Côrte, Pierre Yo­va­no­vitch pu­shed his fond­ness for vo­lumes to the ve­ry li­mit in what was his first ac­tual buil­ding project. “The wine store was the first time I had ac­tual­ly built so­me­thing from scratch. I didn’t know Por­to, or the Dou­ro Val­ley, but right from the start I was ta­ken with the project’s hu­man side and the idea of de­si­gning a gues­thouse (and es­pe­cial­ly not a ho­tel). I li­ked the fact that my concept would be ex­pe­rien­ced by guests staying here and how the vin­tage as­pect of the re­si­dence is jux­ta­po­sed with the ra­di­cal, al­most re­li­gious cha­rac­ter of the wine store. All of that was ve­ry plea­sing.” As we said, Pierre is a man of ma­ny contrasts.


The Quin­ta Da Côrte is lo­ca­ted some 150 km from Por­to—around two hours by car— but the jour­ney is well worth the ef­fort. Sur­roun­ded by vines and over­loo­king the Dou­ro Val­ley, which is a UNES­CO World He­ri­tage Site, its an­cient dry-stone walls hug the hil­ly land­scape. One of the ol­dest pro­per­ties in the re­gion, it was bought in 2013 by Phi­lippe Aus­truy (the ow­ner of se­ve­ral ex­cep­tio­nal es­tates, such as the Com­man­de­rie de Pey­ras­sol in France that pro­duces Côtes de Pro­vence wines). Af­ter res­to­ring the 24 hec­tares of vines and olive trees, the new ow­ner tas­ked Pierre Yo­va­no­vitch—who he had met when he com­mis­sio­ned him for the Pa­ti­noire Royale, a contem­po­ra­ry art gal­le­ry in Brus­sels— with hel­ping him wake this slee­ping beau­ty. Pe­rhaps the most ama­zing part is the way in which Pierre Yo­va­no­vitch ap­proa­ched the construc­tion of the wine store, which is home to the tas­ting room and the es­tate’s red wine pro­duc­tion. He ima­gi­ned the en­tire th­ree-sto­rey buil­ding from no­thing. Its ultra contem­po­ra­ry struc­ture boasts spa­cious vo­lumes and the large win­dows dot­ted here and there of­fer brea­th­ta­king views of the ri­ver and sur­roun­ding land­scape of this wine-gro­wing re­gion. The cel­lar is a mar­vel­lous, no frills piece of de­si­gn made up of a se­ries of whi­te­wa­shed rib­bed vaults. The walls of the stair­case, the ve­ri­table back­bone of the buil­ding, are co­ve­red with lo­cal, hand­made mauve faience tiles. In the wine store, you can al­so see some ex­clu­sive, bes­poke pieces that Pierre made es­pe­cial­ly for the Quin­ta Da Côrte, like the black me­tal and blown glass cei­ling light re­mi­nis­cent of a clus­ter of black grapes that stands out in the other­wise all-wood di­ning room. This project re­pre­sents the Yo­va­no­vitch touch in a nut­shell: de­si­gn, ex­cep­tio­nal crafts­man­ship and crea­tions that real­ly hit the spot.

A de­co­ra­tor’s gues­thouse

The in­ter­ior de­si­gner and col­lec­tor pre­ser­ved the au­then­tic feel of the Ca­sa, the 19th cen­tu­ry home of the for­mer ow­ners, with its old-fa­shio­ned shut­ters and small rooms that are full of charm. It’s as if the fa­mi­ly were still li­ving there. “The deal was not to touch the struc­ture. We didn’t knock down any walls. We chan­ged eve­ry­thing, but made it look like no­thing had

chan­ged”, says Pierre. The new ver­sion of the Ca­sa has 12 rooms di­vi­ded bet­ween the ori­gi­nal house and two small an­nexes, a suc­ces­sion of small, co­sy li­ving rooms, a red brick li­bra­ry, as well as two small tas­ting rooms with pain­ted cei­lings and fi­re­places. There’s al­so a pool with vines on eve­ry side.

To make the re­si­dence as good as new, the in­ter­ior de­si­gner fa­vou­red lo­cal ma­te­rials: azu­le­jos, schist, wood, whi­te­wa­shed walls, as well as par­quet and ear­then­ware floors, not for­get­ting the ba­throoms ti­led with ar­ti­sa­nal Por­tu­guese faience for a subtle re­tro vibe. For the fur­ni­shings, Pierre Yo­va­no­vitch went all out for a “fa­mi­ly col­lec

tion” vibe with pieces found in an­tique fairs and flea mar­kets, Por­tu­guese an­tiques, a wide va­rie­ty of va­rious ob­jects and French, Ita­lian and Scan­di­na­vian de­si­gner pieces. Things from all over, like sou­ve­nirs tel­ling a li­fe­time of sto­ries, are mixed in with ori­gi­nal crea­tions: for example, the tiles on the top of the large com­mu­nal table in the middle of the di­ning room fea­ture a dra­wing made spe­ci­fi­cal­ly for the es­ta­blish­ment by ar­tist Lau­ra Car­lin, whose naïve mo­tifs tell the sto­ry of the Dou­ro Val­ley. Above the table is a poe­tic, blown glass bal­loon cei­ling light made by mas­ter glass­ma­ker Mat­teo Go­net. Re­mi­nis­cent of a bunch of grapes, it re­minds vi­si­tors, should it be ne­ces­sa­ry, that they are in a vi­neyard af­ter all.

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