Quoin Rock

PHOTOS Nina Zimolong Photography WORDS Amelia Brown

Architect Julia Gaiduk was the guiding force behind the striking renovation of Quoin Rock winery, restaurant and event venue in Stellenbosch.

When the Gaiduk family bought Quoin Rock in 2012, the first order of business was to focus on the wines. Denis Gaiduk, son of the owner and MD, spent four years working with a new team to replant vineyards and modernise the cellar. Eager for the venue to reflect the elegant wines they were making, he turned to his wife Julia for the renovation.

Julia began with the wine lounge, which doubles as the dining area of the fine-dining restaurant Gåte, by lifting black tiles and demolishing walls. Now, two walls of frameless glass stacking doors let in an abundance of light and make the most of the views.

For the egg-shaped wooden bar counter at the centre of the room, Julia worked with Pierre Cronje to realise her design, which includes curved LED light troughs that reflect how the wine circulates in the tanks. Pierre Cronje also created vine archways and chairs.

To instate a theatrical entranceway befitting a restaurant that offers a 16-course tasting experience loaded with molecular-gastronomy surprises, Julia devised tiered archways that double as a water feature and, at night, a magical lit-up portal. In the entrance hall, a large bronze vine by Charles Haupt of Bronze Age reaches to the ceiling, symbolically encased in water to create one composition.

But perhaps the most impressive architectural feat is the transformation of a warehouse adjacent to the winery into a 200-person event venue. Julia connected the buildings with a pergola – a semi-floating metal I-beam structure filled with laser-cut panels. The shadow pattern it casts looks like dappled light falling through vine leaves. One of the shed’s brick walls was demolished to make place for a glass wall of steel columns and stacking doors.

And for the Venue Hall extension, Julia designed a steel frame structure that serves to connect the building’s two parts – brick and steel – and emphasise its grand proportions. Columns repeat the frame at different intervals, giving an otherwise minimalist entrance a definitive stance. Clad in tinted glass, the building is absorbed by the beautiful landscape and becomes a mirror for it and all the events it will be witness to.

For more information, visit quoinrock.co.za.