The D’Arenberg Cube

Opening in late 2017 is an exciting new cellar door, restaurant and winery building at D’Arenberg Winery in McLaren Vale.

This extraordinary Rubik’s Cube looking, five-storey building is called ‘The Cube’ , visitors will have incredible views over the Willunga hills and local vineyards. It’s incredibly modern and sits imposingly over the landscape. The striking colours of the building’s exterior reflect the blues and greens of the surrounding countryside.

Inside The Cube will be a new restaurant, new public and private tasting rooms, offices and several bars.

Kingswood Aluminium worked extensively with construction managers Sarah Constructions and the client Chester Osborn to achieve the client’s 10 year dream of a building inspired by a Rubik’s cube puzzle. Chester’s vision is now an iconic building for the region and also gaining exposure around the world for its unique and bold design.

Kingswood Aluminium achieved the aesthetics the client desired by designing a bespoke façade glazing system with panel sizes of 4100mm high by 4200mm width. The 200mm curved framing panels replicate the Rubik’s cube edges. The glazing system accommodates large insulated glass units. The vertical façade system consists of 32mm double LowE green glass Argon filled IGU’s. Whilst the roof panels consists of 44mm double LowE green glass Argon filled IGU’s. The roof glass is designed to be trafficable for future maintenance on the flat glass roof. Energy efficient high performance glass was designed for the ‘glass box’ construction.

The bespoke façade glazing system was performance tested at a NATA accredited testing facility. A 4100mm high by 4200mm wide panel was subjected to the vigour’s of environmental wind loading including water penetration, air infiltration and structural tests. All requirements of the AS/NZS 4284: Testing of building facades where meet.

The entire building façade and roof glazing panels where computer modelled to precisely fit the complex structure. The glass was ordered and panels fabricated whilst the structure was being erected. Every panel was manufactured in our Thailand Factory and shipped to Adelaide in sequence of installation methodology. A custom lifting frame was designed, and certified to enable installation of the panels by Kingswood.

Adding further complexity to the project was the client’s vision of an irregular white triangular pattern emblazoned across the façade panels. Each triangular shape to align and meet perfectly with the neighbouring panels. 1136 individual triangular shapes where laser cut from 3mm aluminium sheet, powder coated and structurally bonded to the glass.

On level 3 of the building there is a bespoke 3 sided operable glass wall. Kingswood in conjunction with Dorma produced this one of a kind operable wall. The operable wall is comprised of 10 panels. The largest panels are 3450mm high and 1200mm wide. Chevron Glass provided the custom 17.52mm toughened laminate for these doors. The courtyard is formed by the removal of one of the façade modules – the “missing cube”. The “missing cube” reappears at ground level nearby as the “fallen cube”. The ‘fallen cube” represents a Rubik’s cube module that has fallen from the building. This structure encloses a pump house for the winery.

This challenging and complex project was completed on time with a high level of quality and attention to detail.

The newest wine attraction in Australia is anything but square

There are grander and more expensive cellar doors in the world, but for sheer originality and invention South Australia’s newly-opened d’Arenberg Cube is unrivalled.

For leading Australian winemaker Chester Osborn, pictured below, it’s the realisation of a 14-year dream, but for the McLaren Vale wine region 40km south of the South Australian capital of Adelaide, the Cube could bring tens if not hundreds of thousands more wine tourists to visit one of the world’s most unusual and dramatic cellar doors.

The five storey AUD$15 million glass-encased steel and concrete structure was inspired by Rubik’s Cube – an architectural puzzle four modules wide, four high – seeming to float above the entrance ground floor, and four deep. The architectural twist is that the two top floors are askew, rotated on their axis, just as if you’d twisted your Rubik’s Cube – which both architects and builders agree have made it the most difficult project on which they’ve ever worked.

Given that d’Arenberg produces 72 different wines under 60 labels there are plenty of aromas to choose from.
Chester Osborn, 55, who says he likes to paint and sculpt when he’s not fully occupied as chief winemaker and futurist for the company his great grandfather Joseph Osborn founded 105 years ago, has filled any vacant space with art pieces and installations he’s either commissioned or collected over the years.

There’s a lift to the upper floors but far more entertaining is the completely mirrored stairwell featuring caricatures of d’Arenberg’s range of wines by Australian cartoonists. The second floor is a multi-function space for tastings and blending classes, while the third floor houses the d’Arenberg Cube restaurant.

This is not the place for a casual snack. With South African husband and wife team Brendan Wessels and Lindsay Dürr, above, in charge of the kitchen the menu options include a “long” degustation lunch, the Sisypheanic Euphoria (allow up to three hours) and an “extra long” lunch, the Pickwickian Brobdingnagian (allow at least four hours). It will be quite an experience, from the dining chairs that explode with colour and tables crafted from old oak barrels, to a 3D food printer in the kitchen.

The top floor is an all glass tasting room – four glass bars made up of 115 televisions featuring opaque projections of a naked female underwater swimmer, floor to ceiling windows on all sides – even a glass ceiling, with 16 two-tonne glass panels topped with 16 massive umbrellas that automatically retract and fold in a gale.

Among the many hundreds of installations and artistic creations filling the Cube, only once did Chester’s vivid imagination beat the available technology. At the entrance, a sharp left turn was to lead to a small “wine fog room”, a vinous sensory overload with the visitor immersed in a thick fog of whatever happens to be the wine of the day: breathe it, feel it, wear it.

It will happen, but only when they’ve worked out how to prevent the wine fog from setting off the fire alarms.

The d’Arenberg Cube opened to the public on December 14. The cellar door is open daily 10am – 5pm.