The father of Phu Quoc Kiss Bridge revealed the “unique” wine cellar constructed by him at Ba Na Hills

September 06, 2022 - 12:53
A unique and unprecedented wine cellar in the world in the heart of Ba Na mountain (Da Nang), where visitors can experience the entire production process and enjoy the high-grade wines only available in Ba Na Hills. – it is the second project that the famous architect Marco Casamonti will cooperate with Sun Group to perform in Vietnam, following the masterpiece “Kiss Bridge” (Phu Quoc) “storming” the forums recently. We had a talk with the "father" of “Kiss Bridge” about this attractive project
Marco Casamonti

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The Kiss Bridge project designed by Marco Casamonti in Phu Quoc can be considered an extremely successful project when it is assessed by the Italian national television as the meeting place between Italian and Vietnamese cultures and eagerly awaited by Vietnamese people since its release. So which reasons made you decide to continue with Sun Group to implement a new project in Ba Na Hills, Da Nang?

For me, Ba Na Hills is a strange land that fosters beauty and dreams. This is a greatly special land because it is one of the rare places in the world that has no presence of vehicles like Venice or the villages hidden in the hills and must use special transportation means. That left an incredibly strong impression on me. This is a land with a vision of the future but still preserving the memories, and the beauties of different lands in the world. So for me, Ba Na Hills is the land that connects the past and the future at the same time.

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Meanwhile, I assess Sun Group as a visionary corporation. They made the cable car system to move to the top of Ba Na mountain, which in my opinion will be the transportation mean of the future. It allows a large number of visitors to explore far, rugged lands without any negative impact on the environment as well as any worry about parking space or taking up valuable community space. That’s what makes me so impressed about Sun Group, about the people with great vision, thus I  decide to accompany them to create a new complex of works at Sun World Ba Na Hills.

What is that project, sir?

We will construct a complex of works, including an exceedingly special wine cellar, designed with the idea to create a construction intimately connected with nature. It must be said that this is an indispensably complicated project and requires quite high construction costs, if not “extremely expensive” because the way of design and construction needs to ensure create the ideal environment in the most natural way for winemaking and brewing, with a required temperature of 17°C. The underlying philosophy of this project is that the grape - born from the motherland, used to make wine - a drink serving people with the energy from the motherland and nature.

Sun World Ba Na Hills at Ba Na Mountain

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Along with the wine cellar, the Ba Na Vortex Circle consisting of a lake, a scenic bridge, a museum, and a food court will create a harmonious and friendly complex with the surrounding landscape and environment. In fact, with this complex project, we consider ourselves to be designing a piece of Ba Na nature, using the structure and infrastructure to create a “residence” for nature. I believe that not only Vietnam but also Asia has been gradually discovering and appreciating the value of nature and natural products such as tea, wine, etc. And this project will attract tourism because the new tourism trend is a combination of education and entertainment (edutainment).

So what makes the “uniqueness” of the wine cellar on the top of Ba Na?

If famous winemaking addresses like Bordeaux (France) or Napa Valley (California) or Chianti of Italy are specific areas with a long tradition and focusing on producing wine in large volumes. At Ba Na wine cellar, we only produce a certain volume of wine, concentrating on wine quality and requiring extremely high standards. Also, this wine cellar is the symbol of the connection between contemporary architecture - art - humans - nature.

The wine cellar is designed by us according to the law of gravity-based production. This means that the grapes are harvested from above, then cleaned, squeezed to extract the core, and incubated along the production line in the direction from upper to lower – in the direction of gravity. This production method is traditional and natural, and the most optimal to create high-class quality wine.

The directions and the way to visit are arranged specially (but each has its own purpose) and visitors will be able to witness first-hand the detailed production process with equipment that ensures not only production function but also exceedingly high aesthetics due to being “tailor-made” for Ba Na wine cellar.

It sounds so interesting, but is it a challenge to realize it?

I would like to say that it is extremely challenging to build a wine cellar on the top of the mountain 1427 m above sea level with the most advanced, complex, and elaborate wine production line in Europe as well as in the world. It must be recognized that only thanks to the will, determination, and bravery of a corporation like Sun Group, this project could be born in such a dangerous place. I have to admit that the site of this project is one of the toughest and most arduous places in the world to be built. Because this is a matter of building not only a project on the top of a mountain but also in a place with an extremely steep slope.

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Kiss Bridge in Phu Quoc was inspired by the story of Mr. Ngau - Mrs. Ngau of Vietnam, so what about Ba Na wine cellar, is there any element of Vietnamese identity that you have included in a very European project like the project?

This is easily noticeable in the overall design of the wine cellar. Only Ba Na wine cellar in Vietnam can “wear” the Vietnamese conical hat. These “conical hats” create “shade” for not only visitors but also the wine cellar. Wine is a very special, very “real” and indigenous drink, so it should and must connect with the local production area. So is there a way to show the uniqueness of this wine cellar other than the image of Vietnamese conical hats?

The Vietnamese breath is still in every detail of the project, as we use traditional local materials and patterns for the wine cellar. You will encounter a feeling that is both strange and familiar when you see terracotta bricks like you still see in My Son, Da Nang. The interior is also subtly presented, inspired by traditional patterns and materials imbued with Vietnamese identity.

What can we expect when this new construction is born?

“Enjoy life”. In addition to experiencing the winemaking process firsthand, enjoying and shopping for wines on-site under the guidance of leading sommeliers (wine tasting and serving experts - interviewer), visitors will take the opportunity to feel the inner strength of nature, when visiting and standing the wine cellar in the heart of Ba Na. It is an incredibly unique experience that through each design line, each type of material, and each color gamut, I want to convey the message about the connection between humans and nature so that we can understand and respect the value of nature.