In the historic centre of Ascona, a few metres away from the ancient foundations of the municipal church of St Peter and Paul, an old, dilapidated pantry, once used as a place to store sausages and cheeses, was converted into a fine wine cellar by Atellier Rampazzi. Given the structure's materiality and the advantage of ambient conditions due to natural ventilation, the client decided to set up his wine cellar, which has a modest annual production, perfect for the surface of the place.
In the interest of retaining the building's stone character, it was resolved at the design level to clean up the stones that make up the barrel vaults of the two rooms. In addition, the light wells leading to the cobbled alley below ground level were reshaped. The flooring comprises a stone mosaic from the Maggia Valley, laid over a bed of fine gravel, enabling natural soil transpiration and ease of maintenance.
Warm, adjustable lighting illuminates the cellar. There are typically two focal points: a central region with three pendulum lamps that lights the entire space and LED bands that run along the tops of the nets, illuminating the cellar vaults.
The lateral shelves and the central island are made of massive chestnut wood, given the potential flooding of the nearby lake Verbano. The warmth of the wooden tones creates a pleasing and relaxing atmosphere in the cold stone room.
A two-mesh thermo-painted metal grid was employed to create the components necessary for storing older wine bottles, providing a practical and quick way to view both the labels and the back wall. The final two years of production will continue to age in bottles in the smaller barrel-vaulted room in the rear.
Thus, the intervention reflects the essence of its current function, resulting in a simplistic and light structure that respects the pre-existing historic cellar.