ImpressionHabitatA FEAST OF SENSES


Story by

- Advertisement -

When it comes to the joy of eating and drinking, taste is paramount. There is no point of a lavishly decorated restaurant or a stylish bar if our taste buds suffer in consequences. However, once the prime criterion has been met, why not indulge the rest of our senses as well? A truly special experience is when we can pamper two, three, four senses all at once. Only then can it be called a feast.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards
St. Helena, California, USA

When one talks about wine and wineries, an image immediately comes to mind: rows of glass bottles and wooden barrels filled by liquid wonder. Such is the view that greets our eyes as we step into the main building of Joseph Phelps Vineyards. The beautiful two-story house once served as a winemaking facility; now it welcomes visitors with a selection of winetasting experiences in various scales and atmospheres.

As a family-owned winery with a world-class renown, an emphasis on hospitality is immediately evident in the décor. Warm wood dominates the interior, from the enormous barrels originally used in the process of fermentation, to antique wooden trellises that once embellished the exterior of the building, now giving much accent to the Great Hall.

The Library, located just next to the Great Hall, showcases the history of the winery in rows after rows of Joseph Phelps’ vintage bottles, each properly stored and preserved. Meanwhile, the far side of the building opens up to a terrace with a magnificent view overlooking the vineyards. With plenty of comfortable chairs from which to choose, one can sit and enjoy the vista alongside an exquisite glass of wine.

The Jane
Antwerp, Belgium

The idea of “classics meet contemporary” is not new. To combine an old chapel with rock-and-roll, however, is quite something else. Sergio Herman and Nick Bril, both Michelin-star chefs, did just that with The Jane.

Once a chapel in a military hospital, The Jane is now a high-end restaurant of international repute. To achieve the effect of ‘aging beautifully’, much of the original building has been preserved with as little alteration as possible, including the brick exterior outside and the worn ceiling inside. The interior is a graceful yet daring combination of leather, natural stone, and oak wood. The former altar leads into an open-plan kitchen, encased in glass to allow a clear view of the food preparation process. High up on the walls, stained glass windows marries an inherently classical art form to contemporary ideas, combining religious images with distinct culinary touches.

The undisputed centerpiece, however, is a massive black chandelier which boasts over 150 lights and weighs more than 800 kilograms. Suspended from the lofty ceiling, it serves both as an impressive display and a lighting fixture to set the ambience of the place.

The Noodle Rack
Changsa, Hunan, China

Noodles: the most common street food to be found all over China. The competition for the best noodles in town is always fierce and now covers not only taste, but also an attractive store design. The Noodle Rack in Changsa is a prominent example of the latter.

This 50-sqm noodle joint near the Xiangjiang River has a bamboo-cast exterior, with two rustic steel boxes to complete the solemn yet stylish look. Past the entry, a bamboo-lined counter welcomes customers to proceed into the dining area.

The Noodle Rack’s interior is, simply put, a proliferation of noodle racks. Draped across the main restaurant area are metal wires from which light bulbs are hung, creating the impression of dining under a curtain of noodles. A skeleton of metal grids partition the room as well as cover the carefully stripped-down walls, creating niches for a scatter of wooden boxes in which an assortment of porcelains are placed on display. The overall effect is a combination of rustic elegance and modern efficiency, a unique marriage between street food and fine dining.

Photos by Bruce Damonte,
         Richard Powers,
         Peter Dixie for LOTAN Architectural Photography