COGNAC UNVEILS THE ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT FOR ITS FUTURE HEADQUARTERS: A LANDSCAPED CAMPUS EMBLEMATIC OF AN INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED SPIRIT
Cognac is today unveiling a preview of the first images of the future headquarters of its interprofession which will be built in the heart of the town of Cognac, on the banks of the river Charente. This sober and elegant site has been developed by the developer Redman, which has entrusted the architectural design to the Wilmotte & Associés Architectes agency with the support of A40 Architectes and Sempervirens Paysagistes for the landscaping. This new complex of three buildings will be a place of collaboration, exchange and innovation which will symbolise Cognac’s attachment to its past and its confidence in its future.
ATTRACTIVENESS AND INFLUENCE OF A SECTOR AND A TERRITORY
The Cognac sector is today unveiling a preview of the future headquarters of its interprofession which will be built in the heart of the town of Cognac, on the banks of the river Charente. This new complex of three buildings will be a place of collaboration, exchange and innovation which will symbolize the attachment of Cognac to its past and its confidence in its future. Open to Cognac professionals, it will bring together the hundred or so BNIC employees (lawyers, engineers, technicians, communicators, statisticians, administrative staff, IT specialists, etc.). It will also host the winegrowing and Cognac trade unions. Anchored in the heart of the Cognac appellation area, which extends over the two Charentes regions and several communes in the Dordogne and Deux-Sèvres, it will contribute to the attractiveness and dynamism of an entire region.
Christophe Veral, president of the BNIC summarises it as follows: “After having conquered the world, Cognac wants to reinvest its territory and continue to contribute to its attractiveness and development. Like past generations, the actors in the sector wish to bring their contribution to the history of Cognac and of a thousand-year-old town through this architectural gesture. This new headquarters bear witness to our visceral attachment to the roots of the Cognac appellation. For Cognac to be found in the most beautiful places, in New York, Shanghai, or even Lagos, the magic has to happen here, in Charente.”
Every year, millions of bottles make the name of Cognac resonate in the four corners of the planet, where the appellation is as much a symbol of the French art of living as an icon of fashion and urban culture. Contributing to France’s image of excellence on the international stage, the success of Cognac benefits the regional and national economy. The construction of the new BNIC headquarters is part of a long phase of development and transformation of the town of Cognac and will make a positive contribution to its development as well as to the influence of its territory. It will illustrate Cognac commitment to sustainable development and its desire to continue to accelerate its national and international influence.
COGNAC, A SOURCE OF ARCHITECTURAL INSPIRATION
The choice of the developer Redman, the Wilmotte & Associés Architectes agency with the support of A40 Architectes for the local approach and Sempervirens Paysagistes for the landscaping, was made via an architectural competition. Thirteen teams of architects and developers were consulted, three of which took part in the final phase of the competition. The choice of the project was unanimous within the BNIC as it was able to represent the identity of Cognac through architecture, and to achieve coherence between the prestige of the appellation and the representation of the sector. Alexandre Gabriel, vice-president of the BNIC, explains: “Redman and Jean-Michel Wilmotte were able to express with simplicity and ambition the vision that drives our appellation, our loyalty to the past and our faith in the future. Their project refers to our origins, to this region in which Cognac is so deeply rooted and which has been able to project itself throughout the world.”
Nina Schoenmuller, Director of the Redman Atlantique group continues: “The BNIC headquarters perfectly embody our know-how in terms of complex, tailor-made, innovative and value-creating projects. With the BNIC teams and our project management team, we were keen to develop a meaningful project, anchored and open to its territory. A veritable totem place at the service of territorial marketing and catalyst for the economic development of the region, this future headquarters will be resolutely innovative in its eco-responsible construction principles. Respectful of tradition, this project will allow the transition to new ways of working in a collaborative, evolving and flexible place for the well-being of its users”.
The architectural style of the new BNIC favours openness to the city and the surrounding landscape. Large bay windows provide transparency through the buildings from the east to the west of the plot, from the centre of the town to the banks of the Charente, reflecting the sector’s openness to the world. “This building will be reflecting the image of Cognac, sober and elegant, rooted in the past and open to the future. I am very happy to be able to contribute to its centuries-old history and to be part of its dynamism and international outlook”, explains Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Through its architecture, the BNIC headquarters will become “a showcase for the excellence and know-how of the Cognac sector. A monolithic, pure and simple building for a spirit of excellence” concludes the architect.
The identity of the appellation is reflected in the engravings, the choice of materials characteristic of the region and the play on the Cognac vintages in the surrounding garden. The landscaped park magnifies the four elements of Cognac. “During the competition, the president of the BNIC evoked the four fundamental elements of Cognac production: water, earth, rock and the fire of distillation, which evokes the alchemy and magic of the process,” explains Frédéric-Charles Aillet, founder of Sempervirens Paysagistes.
Concerned about preserving the environment, the BNIC and the teams of the developer Redman have favoured a circular economy approach and are aiming for four environmental certifications and labels (HQE Bâtiment Durable, Label Produit Biosourcé, Osmoz, E+ C-). They also wanted to preserve the 10 octogenarian lime trees on the site, around which the project was designed.
For more information, see the attached press kit:
©Wilmotte & Associés Architectes / Redman
ABOUT THE BNIC
The BNIC, or Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac, represents, develops and preserves the Cognac AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée), both in France and abroad.
In the 150+ countries where Cognac is sold, this Geographical Indication provides consumers with a guarantee that they are buying an outstanding wine spirit. Comprising an equal number of members from the winegrowing and commercial sides of the industry, the BNIC is a coordination and decision-making body which brings together almost 4,300 winegrowers and grower-distillers, 120 professional distillers, and 265 merchants operating within the appellation.
The BNIC defends the interests of Cognac producers and consumers, with an unwavering commitment to everyone with an interest in this appellation.