Though surrounded by all-things luxury, the wine palace at the monaco yacht club and the architect duo behind the project are anything but prima donnas.
AMIDST THE TENSION between fluttering sails racing for the finish line, adrenaline from all the muscled sailors and flamboyance inherent in any place brimming exorbitant boats, a humble bar has been mooring at the bow of the Monaco Yacht Club since late last year.
Home to one of the best wine cellars in Europe housing 2,300 bottles displayed on the ground floor alone with grands crus concealed away, The Wine Palace opens to a menu of delicacies like premium cheeses from Auvergne, a salmon and an eel smoke or fragrant meats – perfect marriages for its in-house tipples and for sailors after a long day at sea. Real connoisseurs, meanwhile, are taken to the top deck to sample its best wines overlooking the fabulous views of the yachts and Prince’s Palace.
Yet, the true magic of the wine bar lies on the walls: an amalgamation of timeless luxury and maritime influences – as evident in its interiors reminiscent of ferries’ low-key luxuries back in the ’30s – The Wine Palace is a design legend, one made possible by architects Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet, who “search to create an emotion which is then translated by lines, volumes, materials and a general aesthetic”.
Sharing an interest in art and a penchant for mid-century furniture and lighting, the two design talents co-founded Humbert & Poyet in 2008, one year after Humbert set up his architectural firm and Poyet’s graduation from college.
Despite their different educational backgrounds, the two are almost telepathic when it comes to design directions. “It’s amazing sometimes how we have the same vision for a project,” says Humbert, highlighting the surprise he still gets now that the two have almost worked together for a decade.
Perhaps most indicative of their unspoken chemistry, The Wine Palace is designed with a “low-key luxury”, a signature that catapulted the duo to global stardom. “We enjoy dramatising the idea of luxury so that it becomes less austere and more fun and accessible,” said Poytner, pointing to the contrasting materials used at the venue: oak and marble against bronze.
The designers’ work can be found across the world in Cannes, Hong Kong, Mexico and Paris. “All of these cities where we have been lucky enough to develop these projects were incredibly enriching in the evolution of our work,” says Humbert. Their upcoming projects include a hotel in Paris for the Hoxton Group and a 20-storey building in the Golden Square of Monaco. www.winepalacemontecarlo.com