Set amongst five hectares of vineyards, the Fortemasso winery looks out over the picturesque landscape of the Langhe region, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. Located in Monforte d’Alba (Cuneo), it is now part of the AGB Group of wineries renowned for the production of prestigious DOCG wines and their locations in areas of excellence. Fortemasso was chosen by the group not just for the beauty of the surroundings and the quality of its wines, but also for the potential to build an eco-friendly contemporary cellar, an underground structure that would blend in with the rural landscape and offer numerous advantages in terms of energy savings.
Externally, the winery consists of two buildings, a smaller structure housing a reception room and two apartments for staff, and a larger building devoted to offices, tasting rooms and the basement cellar. As lead architect Ivana Boglietti explains, the basement was entirely rebuilt at the request of the landscape commission while maintaining the design and orientation of the original early 20th-century building which collapsed during the underground excavation work. The only completely above-ground elevation, designed to meet the glazing-to-floor-area ratio specified by the local health authority, has been clad in earth-coloured Langa stone to ensure a minimal visual impact. The colours and materials of the Langhe region are also present inside the cellar itself, which has a distinctive undulating wooden ceiling reminiscent of the region’s rolling hillside and the oak of large wine barrels. Created by two craftsmen, it consists of individually bent oak veneer slats mounted on a prefabricated concrete slab, which expand out in a radial pattern from a round skylight and conceal spotlights illuminating the wine casks.
The same resonance of colours and materials determined the decision to install square porcelain slabs from Florim’s Maps collection on the floor. Inspired by the austerity of concrete, the Beige tone creates a floor covering that is both informal and elegant, similar to the texture of the walls. The choice of this product also influenced the decision to leave the in-situ concrete exposed, explained Boglietti, «creating a sense of visual continuity» that also extends into the bathrooms and service corridors. While she was impressed by the visual impact, colour and well-known technical and functional characteristics of porcelain, her decision was also based on the fact that it can be used to create a 20 mm thick floor, which is essential to withstand the movement of equipment used in cellars such as the one at Fortemasso.
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): E≤0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UB min.
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): <175mm3
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >35 N/mm2