Perfect Pairing

It’s been a five months since I returned from New York.  Provence is as beautiful as ever and after the ultimate city that never sleeps, the last few months have been an amazing rediscovery of everything slow!  Like the incredible Chateau la Coste, outside Aix-en-Provence, whose presence is so out of the way and understated it’s taken me five years to realise it exists. But oh boy, this place is so pretty it could be in the pages of New York magazine.

Above is the incredible restaurant, where you can sample the vineyards wine and enjoy the menu du jour for 32 euros…  All in the comfort of Japanese architect Tandao Ando’s extraordinary concrete Centre d’Art.  They have a Le Corbusier tapestry hanging by the restaurants entrance which is reason enough to fall in love with the place for me.  The restaurant, bookshop and information center are surrounded on either side by water.  And some fairly heavy weight sculptures.  Louise Bourgeois’ Crouching Spider greets you on the way in and Alexander Calder’s Small Crinkly leads you into the garden beyond.Alexander Calder, Small Crinkly, 1976As perfect a combination as possible, Chateau la Coste boasts Wine, Art and Architecture. The latter includes the 2008 Frank Gehry Music Pavillon (that to me looks like the Serpentine Gallery pavilion of the same year) as well as an incredibly spacey new Jean Nouvel designed chais de vinification or the naff sounding English translation – winery.
Frank Gehry, Music Pavillon, 2008Liam Gillick, Multipiled Restistance Screened, 2010 (2)There is a 2 hour sculpture trail around the domaine and includes some fun pieces by Liam Gillick (above), Tracy Emin and Tom Shannon (below) among others.   As well as a newly opened gallery in one of the former village buildings currently showing Different Places – Sean Scully.Tom Shannon, Drop, 2009Looking down towards the Gehry pavilion.

The Chateau also holds open air screenings and music concerts in the summer.  The map of the grounds has some incomplete circles marking installations a venir (coming installations) including what looks to be a Richard Rogers designed building, Ai Weiwei pavilion and John Rocha art installation.  Maybe I didn’t have to go to New York to find cultural Nirvana after all!

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