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ESCAPE TO THE CHÂTEAU

About a 30-minute drive from Aix-en-Provence in southern France is the 500-acre wine estate Château La Coste. The Irish businessman Paddy McKillen bought the land in 2002 to create an unmissable destination for wine, art, architecture and gastronomy. Sleek pavilions and galleries designed by Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel complement the original 17th-century buildings, with works by major artists shown throughout the 28-suite luxury hotel Villa La Coste and its grounds.

McKillen is expanding this year, with a new hotel opening on the domaine—La Ferme at La Coste will offer 76 rooms with a traditional aesthetic. There will be a restaurant and bar alongside a dairy and bakery, complementing the four existing epicurean options on site. The team produces excellent reds and whites in a region that is usually reputed for its rosé.

New artworks are also being installed, with a piece by Prune Nourry to be unveiled this month. Projects by artists and architects including James Turrell and Sou Fujimoto are in development for the future. In April, France’s first solo show for Nabil Nahas opens in Renzo Piano’s sublime pavilion. The Lebanese artist is known for his rich surfaces that combine Islamic decoration with organic forms—and occasionally materials—including starfish.

These join more than 40 works by Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle, Jenny Holzer, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Tracey Emin and others, to view on the site’s art and architecture walk. Maps are available at the art center, the starting point for daily guided tours, but visitors are recommended to go without one.

Chteau La Costes Tadao Ando Art Centre.

Château La Coste’s Tadao Ando Art Centre.

UNDERGROUND CULTURE

Milan’s Luigi Rovati Foundation museum.

How can a museum find more exhibition space for a growing collection in a crowded city? One option is to dig down. Milan’s Luigi Rovati Foundation museum, housed in a grand 19th-century mansion on Corso Venezia, hired Mario Cucinella Architects to build subterranean galleries 14m (46ft) below street level to display its collection of Etruscan art.

Three interconnected cave-like spaces, which opened at the end of 2022, add exhibition space for the Foundation’s collection of ancient cinerary urns, vases, jewelry and bronzes. Above ground, more Etruscan sculptures are shown in dialogue with modern works by artists such as Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Giulio Paolini.

Giovanna Forlanelli, president of the Luigi Rovati Foundation, says: “Visitors expect to see an Etruscan museum, but that’s not the case. We offer unexpected juxtapositions.”

Inside the St Regis Venice.

Inside the St Regis Venice.

SCARPA IN THE CITY

St Regis Hotels has added to its global portfolio with a stylish makeover of Venice’s old Europa hotel.

St Regis Hotels has added to its global portfolio with a stylish makeover of Venice’s old Europa hotel, located on the Grand Canal opposite the magnificent Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. The focus is smartly cultural, with commissions by contemporary artists, a cocktail menu inspired by the likes of Helen Frankenthaler and Claude Monet (a guest in 1908) and a spectacular glass chandelier by Ai Weiwei, made in collaboration with Berengo Studio on Murano.

Most impressive is the homage paid to the Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa throughout. Scarpa died in 1978 but lives on in the buildings he designed and restored in Venice and the Veneto. Among the most sensual of Modernists, he celebrated layers of historical detail enhanced by marble, Venetian polished stone, concrete, wood, brass, mosaic and glass.

The redesign plays with his trademark clarity of line and form, and the hotel offers visitors bespoke tours and visits to his Venetian interventions. Architects adore Scarpa, but most cultivated visitors to the city do not know his work. The St Regis Venice is trying to redress that balance.

The subterranean galleries of the Luigi Rovati Foundation

Photos: © Tadao Ando Chateau La Coste/Andrew Pattman; Courtesy of The St. Regis Venice;
Courtesy of Foundation Luigi Rovati and Mario Cucinella Architects/Duccio Malagamba.

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