Monday, April 2, 2012

Illuminated Wine Cellar

By Pari Syal

A simple gesture of inviting your guest to select his choice of wine from your bar is transformed into an interesting ritual with an auto-glow wine cellar…

Imagine a beautifully designed and furnished home, well anointed with works of art and artefacts; but with this dark and dingy cellar space, down a spiral stairway, just below the kitchen. It could be used as a utility room or even for the mandatory HVAC requirements. But that would mean treating approx. 150 sq. ft of space as non-existential.

Ben Rousseau of Rousseau Designs, London, proffered a design solution that was both, functional and integrated with an element of uniqueness that could well become a point of conversation for the homemakers. He suggested the space be designed as a wine cellar, a perfect solution to the homemaker’s desire for an imaginative setting for his much-treasured collection of wine.

To add an element of interest to the stacks of wine bottles that would line the cellar, it was decided that a heat-activated glow would light up the cellar on entry, creating a distinctive ambience and lending the cellar its signature appeal.  

The exercise was initiated by showing the client what Rousseau had designed for another client – for a champagne collection that was again uniquely combined with a snooker room. Once approved, several rough sketches were developed, and later translated into concept renderings.

Inspiration -Cellar

The concept was worked out thus:  As soon as one would begin to walk down the spiral stairway to the cellar below the kitchen, the cavernous space would gloriously light up in a soft glow of shocking pink. The homemaker could then proudly show visitors around his collection and easily select a bottle of wine.

Cellar Plan

Although the task sounded simple, it involved laborious template-making and installing, especially with the space being shallow with a low ceiling height of approx. 4’4” only.

Cellar Side View

The units had to be wired together and the rounded end of the cellar needed to be worked around. The walls were square and uneven and also needed working.

Drawing 1

Drawing 2

New cables were fixed along each rear wall. It was decided that the units would partially be painted white and the bottle racks would be back-lit.

Drawing 3

Bespoke opal acrylic screens were then fitted over transparent acrylic frames, which had to be fitted snug to each arch despite the poor maneuverability.

Cellar Sketch

The sensational pink glow was effected by fitting the clear acrylic framework with LED battens containing pink lighting gels. These in turn would feature heat-activated infra-red sensors, which would react to body heat when a person enters the cellar, resulting in lighting up the cellar with its distinctive pink glow.

Illuminated Wine Cellar

A job like this doesn't have a great deal of material costs; most of the cost was for the labour, making templates and installation in such a shallow space.

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