Wine & De­sign

A wine­maker’s farm­house in north­ern Spain has all an­gles cov­ered

Wallpaper - - September - writer: do­minic Brad­bury

An oe­nol­o­gist’s Dan­ish-de­signed farm­house in Spain, cool chillers, lav­ish la­bels, and a spirit li­brary in New York

Based in the Rib­era del Duero re­gion of north­ern Spain, Dan­ish wine­maker Peter Sis­seck is known for the del­i­cately crafted wines he pro­duces un­der the Pin­gus la­bel. The same de­scrip­tion could be ap­plied to his new home and farm­stead, re­cently com­pleted to a de­sign by Copen­hagen’s Hen­ning Larsen Ar­chi­tects. Set in an iso­lated and pic­turesque spot in Castilla y León, the farm is around ten kilo­me­tres away from the main Pin­gus vine­yards, and now forms part of a sym­bi­otic pro­duc­tion sys­tem in which ev­ery el­e­ment is care­fully con­sid­ered.

‘We cul­ti­vate our grapes bio­dy­nam­i­cally and in or­der to do that we need com­post for the vine­yards,’ ex­plains Sis­seck. ‘Most peo­ple now use ar­ti­fi­cial fer­tilis­ers, but it’s re­ally im­por­tant for the vine­yards

that we stim­u­late them in an or­ganic way be­cause you need a lot of mi­cro-or­gan­isms in the soil. So it’s been an am­bi­tion to cre­ate a farm for quite some time now. It’s up and run­ning and al­ready prov­ing to be one of the best de­ci­sions that we ever took.’

Sis­seck first en­listed the help of Hen­ning Larsen Ar­chi­tects, a Dan­ish prac­tice founded in 1959, with ear­lier plans for a com­bined farm and win­ery back in 2009. Af­ter their plans were dis­rupted by a scheme for a new mo­tor­way, Sis­seck be­gan to re­think his ideas, sep­a­rat­ing the farm from both the Pin­gus es­tate and the bodega de­voted to his other lo­cal la­bel, PSI, which is pro­duced in col­lab­o­ra­tion with lo­cal grow­ers.

He found 20 hectares of land for the farm, with just over half the acreage of­fer­ing pas­ture for a small herd of cows that help pro­duce or­ganic com­post. Ar­chi­tect In­gela Lars­son, work­ing with her col­league Louis Becker, helped plan the farm­stead, which in­cludes a se­ries of agri­cul­tural build­ings of­fer­ing space for a milk­ing par­lour, with the am­bi­tion of also pro­duc­ing an ar­ti­sanal cheese in the fu­ture. Nearby, on a par­tially shel­tered hill­side site, Lars­son laid out the 500 sq m farm­house it­self.

‘The first ideas be­gan with the views, re­spond­ing not just to the big, panoramic view of the val­ley to the south, but also other con­nec­tions to the land around the house,’ says Lars­son. ‘There are a num­ber of Span­ish oak trees around the build­ing that we needed to pre­serve, so the house is tucked into the land and in be­tween these ex­ist­ing trees. It is a very

beau­ti­ful and spe­cial site where you can look down to the val­ley but also up the hill to a plateau.’

Part of Sis­seck’s plan for the house was to cre­ate invit­ing so­cial spa­ces where he could en­ter­tain clients, as well as of­fer­ing guest ac­com­mo­da­tion, but at the same time the farm­house needed to pro­vide pri­vate ar­eas for Sis­seck and his part­ner. Lars­son came up with a multi-lay­ered and flex­i­ble plan for a ‘pop-up house’ that al­lows it to open up with ease yet also feel in­ti­mate and wel­com­ing at qui­eter times. The ground level holds all the key so­cial and liv­ing spa­ces, while guests are hosted within a lower wing, and Sis­seck has a pri­vate do­main at the top of the house, which also con­tains his study. An­other key el­e­ment was an in­ner court­yard with re­flect­ing pools and a mod­est foun­tain.

‘This part of Spain is very dry and we are quite far from the River Duero, so be­ing able to look at the wa­ter ev­ery day is won­der­ful,’ says Sis­seck. ‘The court­yard foun­tain gives us the sound of run­ning wa­ter, but the wa­ter pool also cools at night, and when we open the doors in the morn­ing we get this won­der­ful cool feel­ing of fresh­ness. It is very clever; I’m re­ally proud of In­gela.’

Lars­son drew up de­tailed plans for the house and farm, in­clud­ing fu­ture-proof­ing and as­sess­ments of en­ergy use, with the farm­stead fully off-grid and us­ing a mix of so­lar and biomass en­ergy, along with rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing. Sis­seck su­per­vised the slow con­struc­tion pe­riod, last­ing three years, us­ing both lo­cal ma­te­ri­als and lo­cal ar­ti­sans (with one or two ex­cep­tions, such as the Di­ne­sen tim­ber floors in parts of the house). Both ar­chi­tect and client are de­lighted with the level of crafts­man­ship achieved in the house, which fea­tures a façade of lo­cal stone, punc­tured in places to cre­ate screened win­dows for pri­vacy and tex­ture.

Land­scape de­sign by Tom Stu­art-smith uses peren­ni­als with low wa­ter needs, com­ple­mented by ex­ist­ing holm oaks and ju­nipers. ‘Tom did a re­mark­able job,’ says Lars­son. ‘When we started it was very dry and so all the beau­ti­ful flow­ers and green­ery are down to Tom and Peter’s wish to make it such a spe­cial place. And the house it­self turned out al­most ex­actly the way that we had en­vi­sioned it. It was very pos­i­tive that Peter was able to keep all these thoughts and de­tails through the whole build­ing process. It is a beau­ti­fully crafted house and it makes me very happy that it turned out the way that we all wanted it to.’

‘The court­yard foun­tain gives us this won­der­ful cool feel­ing of fresh­ness’

the hill­side farm­house of­fers A Se­ries of view points Across the val­ley And Sur­round­ing oak trees, while per­fo­rated Stone walls pro­vide pri­vacy And Shel­ter from the harsh Span­ish Sun

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT, THE HOUSE IS SUR­ROUNDED BY 20 HECTARES OF LAND; THE COURT­YARD WA­TER FEA­TURE; AN UP­PER LIV­ING AREA WITH FAR-REACH­ING VIEWS ACROSS THE VAL­LEY

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