Enoteca dai Tosi: Wine Bar Carved Into a Mountain in Matera, Italy, Designed by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Enoteca dai Tosi: Wine Bar Carved Into a Mountain in Matera, Italy, Designed by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Enoteca dai Tosi: Wine Bar Carved Into a Mountain in Matera, Italy, Designed by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Enoteca dai Tosi: Wine Bar Carved Into a Mountain in Matera, Italy, Designed by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Enoteca dai Tosi: Wine Bar Carved Into a Mountain in Matera, Italy, Designed by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Enoteca dai Tosi: Wine Bar Carved Into a Mountain in Matera, Italy, Designed by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Enoteca dai Tosi: Wine Bar Carved Into a Mountain in Matera, Italy, Designed by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

 

Matera is a quiet town in Italy known for its houses that are dug into intricate rock formations. “Sassi” is how the Italians refer to them, which is the Italian word for stone. A Sasso is a typical expression of Matera architecture. It’s a space carved out of the side of the mountain, carved out of the very rock the mountain is made from, in this case dating back to the Palaeolithic Age. Matera, situated by a canyon and steeped in history, now has a particularly contemporary wine bar to add to its credentials.

Enoteca dai Tosi started out life as a competition. Five esteemed architectural studios duked it out for the honour to design the three-level winery. Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu won the coveted prize and it’s clear why. If the objective was to bring life back to Matera and inhabit the Sassi once again, their design has been executed with tasteful restraint and cultural diffidence.

The space has been so gracefully designed and articulated, it’s as though it was brought to life through the cautious mining of an archaeological dig; carefully hand brushed into existence as the original space revealed itself. But it wasn’t, of course. Whilst the design is differential to the original architecture, it is an entirely new interpretation of the space. The stairs are made from the local tuffo stone and flow throughout the space. The stone seating is in rows, modelled on the original amphitheatres. They act as communal spaces to reconfigure as needed to sit larger and/or smaller groups, to share wine and conversation.

 

Enoteca dai Tosi: Wine Bar Carved Into a Mountain in Matera, Italy, Designed by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Enoteca dai Tosi: Wine Bar Carved Into a Mountain in Matera, Italy, Designed by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Enoteca dai Tosi: Wine Bar Carved Into a Mountain in Matera, Italy, Designed by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Enoteca dai Tosi: Wine Bar Carved Into a Mountain in Matera, Italy, Designed by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

Enoteca dai Tosi: Wine Bar Carved Into a Mountain in Matera, Italy, Designed by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu | Yellowtrace

 

The bright, jade green colouring of the lights, the balustrade railing and the stools are a reference to the original colour of the entrance door to this particular Sasso. It also reflects the colours of the wine bottles themselves.

Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu have left all the original openings to the Sasso, but they’ve refinished the floors in a herringbone tile. The bar itself is revealed as you descend the main staircase, resplendent in its bright green, hanging pendant lights. The wine cellar is down deeper yet again, visible behind a simple glass partition. The way the wine is cellared is yet another small detail worthy of reflection and appreciation. Stone brickwork is carved to allow the body of the wine bottle to sit snuggly into the brick. Pragmatically it does scratch the bottles, but they like that, it’s like a personal etching or engraving from the space marking its product as a wine from a Sasso in Matera.

It’s always a joyful moment in architecture when something once abandoned or left to fall apart is reinvented, reinvigorated and given a new start in life. It is ever the more joyful when the reinvention is as elegant and respectful as this one is. And its stock only keeps going up seeing as it includes the consumption of fine wine to boot.

 


[Images courtesy of Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu and PS Design Consultants. Photography by Delfino Sisto Legnani.]

 

About The Author

Susanna McArdle

Susanna has a background in Interior Architecture and a passion for writing. Based in Sydney, she has worked both in Asia and Australia designing. An avid writer, it’s hard to know what she prefers more, stringing words together or creating spaces. But one thing she does know, is that she loves doing the both together.

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