The wine tasting pavilion for California wine company The Donum Estate was launched by Studio Other Spaces, which was formed by artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann. The design creates a vertical panorama, which essentializes a vertical cut across the terrain and the circumstances that make for a successful vineyard, offering a holistic experience that addresses all senses. The colorful glass tiles on the roof form an abstract calendar reflecting yearly averages of variables including wind speed, temperature, and humidity.

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The pavilion was created for The Donum Estate, one of California’s finest Pinot Noir growers, who wanted to establish a unique structure dedicated to wine tasting. The project, which will be built on a hill, will give a panoramic perspective of the countryside as well as a new vantage point for studying the Estate’s open-air sculpture collection. The gravel walk that leads to and from the pavilion is cut into the hillslope and paved with glazed bricks, adding to the experience’s movement. As you approach the pavilion, the wall rises to eye level, aligning the soil and turf with the guests. The design strives to heighten awareness of the surrounding environment, including the earth, sky, and expanding landscape.

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The pavilion will be a welcome addition to the Estate, which already has a hospitality center and a conservation room that houses Louise Bourgeois’ Crouching Spider artwork. Donum Estate also has one of the world’s biggest publicly accessible private sculpture collections, with 50 pieces including outdoor sculptures by Ai Weiwei, Ghada Amer, Doug Aitken, Lynda Benglis, Keith Haring, and Subodh Gupta.

The pavilion will take visitors on a meandering trip through numerous horizontal strata of the site, landscape, and surrounding components, creating a vertical panorama in the process. 

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The pavilion will represent the vineyard’s undulating topography as well as the historic Donum Collection, enhancing the personalized sensory experience that combines art and excellent wine.

The Vertical Panorama Pavilion, as the name suggests, is envisioned as a fusion of art and architecture that embodies Studio Other Places’ concept of developing public spaces using multidisciplinary and experimental methods.

“The trip to the pavilion is a sensory discovery of sight, sound, and scent by synthesizing abstractions of nature collected from vertical slices through the Estate,” stated Sebastian Behmann, co-founder of Studio Other Spaces.

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Seating area_@

“A meandering walk dug into the land leads to the pavilion, which is gently entered beneath a vast canopy, flawlessly blending the inside and outdoors.” Visitors’ sights, ears, and nostrils match with the terroir, where soil and sky meet alongside abundant biodiversity, as they come to the pavilion to sip wine from the surroundings.”

“Aerial perspective” Pavilion strives to enhance the wine tasting experience by creating a state of mind and body that is distinct and not reproducible — every day at The Donum Estate is unique, leaving a lasting memory engraved in our minds,” stated Behmann.

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Steel structure_@

The pavilion is designed to emphasize two primary views: one facing south over the bay, which includes vineyards and typical land panoramas, and another looking north over the Estate, which focuses on the ground and the Donum Collection.

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On the pavilion’s southeast side, topographical adaptations block the prevailing winds and frame the magnificent perspective of the terrain.

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Its conic-shaped canopy, which is inspired by the history of circular calendars, is a prominent feature of the design.

The conical canopy is covered with colorful glass tiles reflecting yearly averages of the four climatic factors at the Estate – sun brightness, wind strength, temperature, and humidity – and is centered on a northern-oriented oculus.

Twelve structural stainless-steel columns in the landscape support the cone-shaped roof structure around its circumference.

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The glass panels come in a variety of translucent and transparent colors that complement the colors of the Sonoma Valley’s natural surroundings.

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To cover the structure, the team used 832 laminated panels composed of handcrafted recycled glass panels with colorful PVB interlayers and extra solar coating.

The canopy provided shade for the three major circular rooms, which intertwined to provide a cozy wine tasting experience for small parties.

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The tasting area under the oculus is equipped with movable benches and tables that may accommodate up to 12 people.

The seating is placed to reveal the valley’s landscape.

Sitting beneath the grass allows one to fully immerse themselves in the Estate’s natural elements, becoming physically aware of the soil, the surrounding species, and all of the components required to make the wine one is about to enjoy.


Rajita Jain is an architect by profession who engages with the dynamics of urban spaces and the people. She aims at developing ways of amalgamating cultural and traditional beliefs with modern day technology to give the urban fabric a vernacular sensitivity.