Cité du Vin

Cité du Vin

Shops, Restaurants and Museums
Bordeaux, France - Build completed in 2016
Paul Desmaziers

An evocation of the soul of wine

XTU architects as Architects

The city of Bordeaux unveils a landmark attraction with a permanent exhibition dedicated to the art, culture, and commerce of wine


Environmental and exhibition design practice Casson Manndelivers an immersive visitor experience that celebrates the story of wine across 22 themed installations and exhibits.


Appointed on winning an international competition in 2011, with a budget over €12 million, Casson Mann have created a unique sensory experience that will welcome 450,000 visitors annually, to Parisian architect X-TU’s eye-catching building.


Responsible for conceptualising and art directing all elements of the permanent visitor experience, including audio-visual and media elements, Casson Mann’s ambitious scenographic vision and interior concept is sympathetic to the form, materials and spirit of an innovative architectural concept that references the liquid turbulence of poured wine. Through a series of spectacular, innovative and playful displays, the centre celebrates the links between wine, culture, history and society, so significant to this area of France, and which are shared by wine-producing nations across the globe.


Structured into themes, the tour introduces the visitor to the rich symbolic and cultural capital of wine, and illustrates the ways in which its history, geography, geology, oenology, arts and commerce have shaped the world’s cultures and landscapes throughout history, from 7000BC to the present day.


Spread across a floor space of more than 3,000 m2, 22 different large-scale exhibits feature interactive experiences that stimulate the senses – sight, sound, touch, and smell. They range from spectacular helicopter fly-overs of the world’s most stunning vineyards where visitors can literally smell the vines on a perfect spring day, intimate galleries in which visitors can examine the detail of historical documents and artefacts close up, to innovative displays that deconstruct wine making process and invite visitors to delve into the colour, taste, feel and aroma notes of different wines. Says Roger Mann, “Our vision was to create a richly textured experience in which visitors can be inspired by wine in all its wonderful complexity, and our aim has been to play with display design and technology to create variety and interest yet remain relevant to the subject. This exhibition is completely audiovisual and multimedia, with sensory elements to surprise, delight, intrigue and educate visitors about the drama, art and craft that surrounds wine”.


A truly international experience, visitors will be guided through the various installations with the help of an innovative personalised headset that dynamically translates the audio content into one of 8 languages. Unique in its off ear design, the headset simultaneously translates while enabling the visitor to remain connected to the soundscape and people around them.


La Cité du Vin is a cultural facility dedicated to wine as a universal living cultural heritage. It is operated by the Fondation pour la culture et les civilisations du vin. 450,000 visitors are expectedeach year to this site which offers an immersive, sensory permanent tour, ambitious temporary exhibitions, a cultural programme of events in the auditorium, workshops, a Belvedere set 35 metres above ground, as well as restaurants, shops and wine bars. La Citédu Vin is also a one-of-a-kind business venue that can host conferences and other corporate events. Meetings, seminars, workshops or cocktail receptions can be organized in the site’s private modular spaces. La Cité du Vin will open to the public on 1st June 2016. Individuals and companies can support the cultural programme of La Cité du Vin by joining the Cercledes Amis and the Cercle des EntreprisesMécènes.


Architectural concept ‘This building does not resemble any recognisable shape because it is an evocation of the soul of wine between the river and the city.’


A strong architectural statement, La Cité du Vin stands out with its bold curves and shape. An iconic building, this golden frame hosts a Cité within the city, a living space with experiences to discover. The initial aim of the building’s architecture was genuinely to create a link between La Cité du Vin and the spaces surrounding it through perpetual movement. Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières, the architects from XTU, designed a space shaped by symbols of identity: gnarled vine stock, wine swirling in a glass, eddies on the Garonne. Every detail of the architecture evokes wine’s soul and liquid nature: ‘seamless roundness, intangible and sensual’ (XTU Architects). This roundness transcribed in the building’s exterior can also be felt in its indoor spaces, materials and scale. La Cité du Vin dazzles with a golden shimmer reminiscent of the light stone found on Bordeaux facades. Its own facade is made up of silk-screen printed glass panels and perforated, iridescent, lacquered aluminium panels.


Changing with the sunshine or the time of day, the building dialogues with the river through its reflections: there are very close parallels with a wine’s constantly changing appearance. This very distinctive shape causes you to look at the river running past from a different perspective.


The building’s two entrances on either side create an impression of movement, ebb and flow between inside and outside. One entrance faces the city and the other faces the river. Higher up, the viewing tower enables visitors to discover the illuminated city and the surrounding land, almost like a watchtower. In the eyes of XTU, the main tour itself follows these flows: wine, the river, the flow of visitors. You pass through the building like a river, with visitors becoming voyagers flowing around the central staircase, perpetuating this impression of movement.


This means that visitors are constantly moving as they experience a virtuous circle of discovery. Each person discovers a new world in a fluid, rotating motion leading to an unusual, limitless destination, like a journey through the meanderings of a cultural landscape which feeds the imagination.


The initial aim was for the building programme to develop in line with the scenography, making the architecture a voyage in itself. Downstairs is therefore a dark world, like a cellar, with the roots of the vines. The ground floor is raw as an immersion stage diving into the project, a crossing point. The mirror reflections are disorienting and encourage visitors to move upwards towards the light. They feel this light on the courtyard then follow it through the structure until it finally explodes. There is no fixed route to follow, just worlds to discover.


The aim of the experience is genuinely to question rather than let alone. Sometimes the architecture steps back, in other places it reappears.


The wooded arch of the permanent tour, the strongest area of La Cité du Vin, is like a varied sky. The sky is everything in winemaking, determining the harvest. This wooden sky rises, undulates and tightens. Once again, this is all about movement.


The wooden structure is reminiscent of a timber frame, of boats, of wine on its travels. It is an immersive break with reality, a world of roundness, fluidity and elevation approximating the wine experience. Visitors are in a discovery mind-set initiated by the architecture, which creates the right conditions for them to discover and complete this immersive, initiatory journey.

A world of cultures

La Cite du Vin as Tenants

Situated in Bordeaux, La Cité du Vin is a unique cultural facility where wine comes to life through an immersive, sensorial approach, all set within an evocative architectural design. La Cité du Vin gives a different view of wine, across the world, across the ages, across all cultures and all civilisations.


La Cité du Vin invites you on a lively, eye-opening journey around a world of wine and culture. - Our mission: to promote and share the cultural, universal and living heritage that is wine with the broadest possible audience. - Our goal: to focus on emotions, sensations and imagination. - The founding principles of the tour experience: to pass on knowledge interactively, to experience things at your own pace, to learn according to your personal wishes.


A must-see experience during any stay in Bordeaux, but also a place to go for residents of the Bordeaux region, La Cité du Vin is there to be seen, experienced and visited.


La Cité du Vin is run by the Fondation pour la Culture et les Civilisations du Vin, a foundation recognised as being of public interest by Ministerial Decree in December 2014.


To be seen: iconic architecture


At first sight, the architecture of the building certainly makes an impact. It is a journey in itself, creating a place filled with symbols of identity: the knotted vine stocks, wine turning in the glass, the swirls and eddies of the Garonne river. Each and every architectural detail evokes liquid elements and the very soul of wine. Comprising more than 13,350m2 spread over ten levels and reaching a height of 55 metres, La Cité du Vin invites you to step in and explore.


The bold architectural design by architects Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières from XTU architects is impressive for its shape and audacious curves, as well as its ever-changing reflections depending on the season, the day or the time. Allow yourself to be transported by this sensation of movement, of uninterrupted flow between the exterior and interior of the structure. Set off on your wine adventure beneath the wooden vault of the torus which reminds us of the massive hull of a ship putting to sea.


Located at the heart of the Bordeaux wine region, in the city itself, La Cité du Vin is an international showcase and an open door onto the world’s vineyards.


To be visited: the permanent tour, belvedere and temporary exhibitions


La Cité du Vin, an international wine museum? If the approach is museum-like, the method certainly does not follow the classical rules. There is no permanent collection, but a self-guided tour punctuated by 20 themed spaces explaining the culture of wine in an immersive, sensorial setting, with the final phase leading you up to the belvedere for a tasting of worldwide wines. From 2017, two major temporary art exhibitions will complete the visitor experience.


The permanent tour, the heart of La Cité du Vin, invites you on a journey through time and space to discover wine in its universal, heritage, civilisational and cultural dimensions. Senses on the alert, set off to discover wine, its imagery, its influence on world civilisations and regions through the millennia, particularly through history, geography, geology, oenology and the arts. Whether mythical, sacred, religious or magical, experience the culture of wine as a formidable epic which has shaped mankind and the way we live, which has been a source of inspiration in both past and present.

La Cité du Vin

Guardian Glass as Glass manufacturers

Shimmering in the sun-drenched Bordeaux landscape, the Cité du Vin is a bold architectural statement referencing the liquid turbulence of poured wine. Its facade is made up of 900 golden, silk-screen glass panels and perforated, iridescent lacquered aluminium panels.


The design brief for Cité du Vin required XTU Architects to find glass with gold reflections. XTU wanted to use the best high-performance glass because of its special role in reflecting light inside and out, while also mimicking effervescence. They enlisted French cladding company Coveris to help them find the right solution, ultimately turning to Guarding Glass, a leading manufacturer of high-performance glass in Europe.


The architects examined various types of glass and carried out screen printing tests. The two types of glass ultimately selected were Guardian SunGuard Solar Gold 20 and Guardian UltraClear. SunGuard Solar Gold 20 is a gold-coloured coating applied to Guardian ExtraClear float glass. When compared to body tinted glass, this provides not only high-performance solar control but also thanks to a good colour rendering index, colours seen from the inside to the outside of the building appear very close to what they are in reality.


Compared to traditional glass, Guardian UltraClear low-iron glass offers high light transmission and greater colour neutrality, letting ‘true’ daylight in to provide an enhanced the feeling of light.


900 of the golden panels were screen printed with 20 different patterns, each applied individually to the panels. The shimmer of the panels changes with the sunshine and time of day.


More from the Manufacturer:


La Cité du Vin is a new cultural centre in Bordeaux, France, which offers a unique setting in which visitors can learn about wine, its history and influence on civilisation through a range of tours, exhibits and spectacular multimedia presentations. An observation deck on the top of the 55 metre high tower offers a 360° view of the city and the surrounding vineyards.


The building itself was designed by Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières of XTU Architects and makes a strong architectural statement thanks to its bold curves and overall shape which are intended to evoke wine’s soul and liquid nature: seamless roundness, intangible and sensual. Obviously, glass plays an important part in reflecting these aspects.


XTU Architects wanted to use the very best high-performance glass, because of its special role in reflecting light inside and out, while mimicking effervescence. The architects selected French cladding company Coveris to help find the right solution for this high visibility project. They turned to Guardian Glass in Europe, a leading manufacturer of high-performance architectural glass. Guardian’s experience and technical support proved to be invaluable.


“Choosing the glass was a long process,” says Coveris. “It was vital to select the right products that were best suited, both technically and aesthetically. We had to prove the feasibility of many aspects, from the choice of coating to ensuring that the glass could be distorted or curved outwards. Throughout this process there was a very good cooperation with Guardian and the architects.”


Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières from XTU Architects agree: “The design brief required us to find glass with gold reflections. We examined various types of glass, and then we carried out screen printing tests. The Guardian® glass delivered the best results and the most modern aspect.”


Two types of glass were selected: Guardian SunGuard Solar Gold 20 and Guardian UltraClear. SunGuard Solar Gold 20 is the preferred choice of many architects and designers. Its gold-coloured coating is applied to Guardian ExtraClear® float glass. This has advantages when compared to body tinted glass. Not only does it offer high performance solar control; but also thanks to a good colour rendering index, the colours that can be seen from the inside to the outside of the building are very close to what they are in reality.


Compared to traditional glass, Guardian UltraClear low-iron glass offers high light transmission and greater colour neutrality, letting ‘true’ daylight in to provide an enhanced feeling of space and light.


For the building’s main tower, glass was used to create a separate skin which envelopes the structure, while maximising its aesthetics. In total around 900 individual glass panels were used, some being screen printed with 20 different patterns. All panels are different with maximum sizes of 5.1m x 1.5m. There are three types of panels: monolithic, laminated and triple laminated. The latter type with SunGuard Solar Gold 20 coating applied. All panels were individually fixed on site and guided into place onto 4500 separate fixing attachments from 50mm to 270mm high. The fixing system had to be programmed using special software, because of the building’s specific geometry. The final glass skin covers 2700 square metres.


The screen printing which provides such a stunning effect involved 20 different patterns each applied individually onto the panels. All this contributed to the remarkable way in which both SunGuard Solar Gold and UltraClear are used to magnify the architecture and its appearance. In the words of XTU Architects: “We are delighted with the final result because we think we found the very best solution.”

City Of Wine

Sadev Architectural Glass Systems as Engineers

Located on the edges of the Garonne River, this outstanding project, designed by the XTU architectural agency, upset an old industrial district.


Composed of 10 levels, the City Of Civilizations and Wine consists of a 13 350 square meters architectural space and belvedere on the 8th floor (35 meters high).


The structure of the exceptional building is made of 574 laminated arches and 2500 composite panel. 900 glazing recover it.


For the construction of this work, the COVERIS company request Sadev for the manufacturing of the precision fittings made of aluminium.


These 13 000 parts maintain the glass scales wich compose the magnificent puzzle.


Products used in this project
Product Specifications
BrandCategoryProducts
ADAPTA COLORADAPTA COLORManufacturers
Guardian GlassGuardian GlassGlass manufacturers
Sadev Architectural Glass SystemsSadev Architectural Glass SystemsEngineers
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