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A Focus on Understated Luxury

We spoke to Paul Rolfe of Paul Rolfe Architects in Wellington, New Zealand, about the firm’s use of a GyroFocus suspended fireplace in the Cloudy Bay Vineyards Shack project. From a strange beginning to a beautiful end, the Shack and the GyroFocus make perfect partners in accommodating wine-loving guests from around the world.

Where is the Cloudy Bay Shack located?
Cloudy Bay Vineyards, Blenheim, New Zealand.

What is the purpose of the Shack?
The shack serves as accommodation for invited guests of Cloudy Bay Vineyards – wine writers, visiting chefs, clients and other wine experts from around the world.
There was previously a cottage on the site, which was warm and humble and served the same purpose (guest accommodation) but this burnt down under strange and much-mused-upon circumstances.
The fire occurred a few months after Ian Morden took over as Estate Director of Cloudy Bay Vineyards. Rather than seeing the fire as a bad omen, Ian saw it as an opportunity – to develop and build a guesthouse that would showcase the stunning Cloudy Bay region and offer invited guests the opportunity to enjoy the complete Cloudy Bay experience.

Who designed the Shack?
Initially, Cloudy Bay engaged Sydney architectural firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer to design the Shack. Tim Greer brought on board long time friend and collaborator, Paul Rolfe of Paul Rolfe Architects in Wellington, and together they designed a building, which respected Cloudy Bay’s brief to value the past but also look into the future.

When did building start and when was it completed?
Building commenced in May 2010 and was completed in May 2012.

Where is the GyroFocus located in the Shack?
The GyroFocus fireplace serves as a divider between the living and dining areas of the Shack. These two areas run along a long section of the building 22 metres in length, so the rotating aspect of the GyroFocus is perfect for the space.

Why was the GyroFocus chosen for this project?
Its sculptural qualities encourage visitors toward the view of Cloudy Bay. The living and dining areas are a part of a long space; so a fireplace that also works as an art piece creates a natural flow toward the view.
The view of the Richmond Range is an important part of the Cloudy Bay Vineyards brand – it is sketched on their bottles’ labels. The GyroFocus helps encapsulate the concept of history meeting future that Cloudy Bay represents, and the understated luxury their brand offers.
Cloudy Bay’s brief encouraged the use of New Zealand materials. The only exception to this was the French-made GyroFocus, a nod to Cloudy Bay’s French parent company, LVMH Moët Hennessey.
Additionally, the suspended nature of the GyroFocus works exceptionally well with the space, allowing the feature stone floor to flow through uninterrupted.

Photography by Mike Rolfe. www.mikerolfe.com

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