Château de Malleret

Established in the seventeenth century, Malleret originates from a long lineage of equestrian aficionados and wine connoisseurs. The Clossmann family officially acquired the estate in 1860, marking the beginning of Chateau de Malleret and an excellence in winemaking. In preservation of the family legacy, the Clossmanns’ called upon architect Sylvain Dubuisson to re-envision the estate’s historic artillery hold, transforming the building into an elegant and cohesive space for wine production and equine events.


Hervé Descottes, Principal of L’Observatoire International, created a lighting design that brings a level of visual sensation to the complex architecture rendered by Dubuisson. Through a programmable system of accent and decorative lights, an element of the theatrical is added to the function of the building, allowing a flexibility between work and entertainment, the process and the processional.


The new vat room is central to the overall construct, with two flanking structures on opposite sides for the bottle store and cellar. A parallel arrangement of vats creates twin alleys that are connected by a large footbridge creating access for the vinification operation. Millwork encased downlights provide functional lighting overhead, while integrated linear LED washes the intricate framework of the two naves in an amber glow. On the lower level, each convex vat is accented with a single decorative spot highlighting the terracotta surface and softening the overall mass.


At the existing stone cellar an interlocking framework at the ceiling creates a triple archway, resembling that of a series of inverted boat hulls. Integrated fixtures at the beams articulate the ribs with a warm glow while accent light draws focus to the central axis, creating a sense of perspective and complexity. Throughout, a constellation of suspended copper-plated luminaries moves as a candlelight procession creating romance and drama.


At the barrel room, adaptable light levels provide a variation of settings to alter the mood. During a usual workday, light is bright and neutral with downlights at beams combined with suspended pendants that light the aging barrels beneath. For a special occasion, the dimming of integrated lights at the beams and of functional lights brings focus to the pendant luminaires, creating a glowing canopy above the central alley during the estate’s equestrian events. At the end of the barrel room, a staircase descends to an intimate cellar where a single pendant lights the central tasting table while the room is encircled by a perimeter of flickering candlesticks showcasing the estate’s vintage bottles.


L’Observatoire International created an emotive lighting design that showcases the heritage of process and creates a space for education and entertainment for the wine enthusiast.  This forms a new chapter in the mastery of wine making for the Clossmans; elevating their prestigious reputation and creating an exceptional and new experience of the property holdings.

Location Le Pian-Médoc, France
Date Completed 2018
Architect Sylvain Dubuisson
Type Offices + Workplace
Status Built

L'Observatoire Intl Team
Principal Hervé Descottes
Project Leader Solenn Borchers
Project Team Anna Muslimova Elie Nespoulous Nathan Emery
Awards IES Illumination Award of Merit , 2020
Photo Credits Studio Dubuisson, L'Observatoire International