Jouin Manku refers to Champagne’s terroir, and savoir vivre for the Mutigny Resort Hotel

The timber-clad spa and hotel sits on a vine-covered, scenic hill in France, as a dedicated venue for exploration of wine and wellness, and evoking what the French call Art de Vivre.

by Jincy IypePublished on : Dec 03, 2022

Buildings, especially of massive scales, constructed and residing amid natural terrains and lush landscapes are often presented with the double-edged sword of opportunity and dilemma—aside from designing with a sensitive, eco-friendly approach, drawing inspiration for its architecture and materiality from the vernacular, the form makes its presence by digging up a substantial amount of earth, felling trees to make space for itself, and disturbing existing natural ecosystems. Achieving a coherent balance between the building and scenic surroundings, while being respectful of its environment, remains a challenge.

A glimpse of the earthy, cosy interiors of the Mutigny Resort Hotel | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
The Studio Jouin Manku teamed up with executive architect SLA Architecture to design the Mutigny Resort Hotel Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

The almost clandestine yet bold built statement made by the Mutigny Resort Hotel designed by French architects Sanjit Manku and Patrick Jouin of Studio Jouin Manku, emerges with its own distinct presence, both modern and evoking nostalgia, stretching low and slow within a scenic, lush hilly landscape in France. The new spa and hotel architecture embraces and is inspired by the natural beauty of the site overlooking the vine-covered hills of the wine region, within the historical province of Champagne in the northeast of France, best known for champagne production—the sparkling white wine that bears the region's moniker.

The hospitality architecture is largely realised in wood | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
The hospitality architecture is largely realised in wood Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

Celebrating and immersing guests in savoir vivre, the project comprises 101 rooms and suites, a spa club with an outdoor pool, meeting rooms, a bar, and a brasserie (a restaurant in France, or in a French style).

The new spa and hotel in Champagne embraces the lush, hilly site it resides in | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
The new spa and hotel in Champagne embraces the lush, hilly site it resides in Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

Bordering on a forest and an endless sea of vines, the architectural intervention (also called the Loisium Hotel Champagne) borrows directly from ‘French Terroir’— Terroir, commonly translated as 'land' and loosely interpreted as 'the taste of a place'—but is regarded more as a way of life in France, emphasising the art de vivre (art of living) that the French aspire to. It is also associated with wines, as a way of distinguishing the good ones from the great ones. Traditionally, knowing the terroir is a way of figuring out the quality of wine production which depends on the interaction between the conditions of soil, climate, topography, sun exposure, and local environment, creating a unique circumstance for the raw material as well as the production. A good terroir makes a great wine, goes the local belief.

Inside the Mutigny Resort Hotel designed by Paris-based Studio Jouin Manku | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
Inside the Mutigny Resort Hotel designed by Paris-based Studio Jouin Manku Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

From grape to glass, a spa and hotel to immerse in wine and wellness

The studio makes the most of the French site’s gifts, combining them with a limited palette of natural materials to realise the Mutigny Resort Hotel. The hospitality architecture has been conceived as a dedicated, engaging venue for the exploration of champagne, one of the country's most prized exports.

The architecture of the wellness spa and hotel in Champagne is articulated in two distinct, low-lying volumes | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
The architecture of the wellness spa and hotel in Champagne is articulated in two distinct, low-lying volumes Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

"Unlike the grand palaces usually associated with Champagne, this venue is raw and honest—a homage to the work, passion, and knowledge that goes into the winemaking. At its essence, the goal was the discreet insertion of a 101 rooms hotel/spa into the landscape. The architecture assures a constant visual connection to its surroundings—from the forest and its undergrowth to the horizon with its valleys, and hillsides covered in vines, in between,” shares Sanjit Manku, co-founder and architect, Studio Jouin Manku.

The entrance of the Loisium Wine & Spa Hotel Champagne | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
The entrance of the Loisium Wine & Spa Hotel Champagne Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

The bucolic hospitality design is articulated largely in a honest materiality of wood, along with the inclusion of concrete, glass and metal, giving form to its two connected blocks. Transparent and light, one of them is dedicated to spaces of social interaction, with the welcoming warmth of a central fireplace and a light sculpture rising through a monumental staircase, evocative of sparkling champagne. This joins the second structure, a more vertical volume comprising the hotel’s rooms, with intimate interiors and fresh views of the surrounding landscape, where the views through the tree canopy are more intimate.

Conceptual sketches of the Mutigny Resort Hotel | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
Conceptual sketches of the Mutigny Resort Hotel Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

A nod to the historical tradition of storing champagne in salt and chalk mines left behind by Romans, the Mutigny Resort Hotel is accessed through a cave-like undercroft, beginning from the rear of the wooden architecture or from its parking area. Designed as "a prelude to the light-filled discovery that follows", the public space has a more free-flowing, multipurpose program, oriented around a central patio heavily bathed in natural light, and accompanied by panoramic views of the region. The reception, tasting tables, bar, restaurant design, and seminar spaces coalesce in front of the site’s natural beauty, as a spectacle of choreographed space, bringing alive the timber construction.

The public wing of the hotel features a monumental staircase, evocative of sparkling champagne | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
The public wing of the hotel features a monumental staircase, evocative of sparkling champagne Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

The roof follows the concrete materiality of the basement but enjoys relief in the form of ample vegetation and plants. Each level enjoys the inclusion of floor-to-ceiling glass, assuring the interiors a sustained panoramic connection to its immediate environment, and the regional views beyond. "Clad in wood, the building is an architectural and cultural extension of the surrounding forest," iterates Manku.

The Loisium Wine & Spa Hotel Champagne employs bespoke furniture | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
The Loisium Wine & Spa Hotel Champagne employs bespoke furniture Image: © Nicolas Mathéus
Custom-designed overhead bar lighting ensures adequate illumination | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
Custom-designed overhead bar lighting ensures adequate illumination Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

The central fireplace evokes the affable nature of gathering around the hearth of goddess Hestia within the contextual architecture, as a space for wine-tasting, sharing, and connecting with one another. It invites guests to participate in the time-honoured ritual of warm exchanges around a fire, before venturing towards a more final destination, of attending a seminar, fine dining, wine-tasting or resting.

  • The light filled public wing of the hotel also includes spaces to hold meetings and seminars | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
    The light filled public wing of the hotel also includes spaces to hold meetings and seminars Image: © Nicolas Mathéus
  • Oak panels cover the majority of walls inside | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
    Oak panels cover the majority of walls inside Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

"While the brute nature of the structural concrete remains in evidence on this level, it is significantly warmed with the verticality of oak panels that line the interior mezzanine level, and the sustainable poplar wood on the building’s exterior," Manku elaborates. The floor, also done in oak, contrasts with the mineral nature of black marble, leading on to define the bar and the fireplace areas. A massive staircase invites visitors to climb through the levels, experiencing views of the landscape from different perspectives, and perhaps, seeking more intimate socialising on the mezzanine level.

The Loisium Hotel Champagne contains 101 rooms and suites, a spa club with an outdoor pool, meeting rooms, the brasserie and a bar | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
The Loisium Hotel Champagne contains 101 rooms and suites, a spa club with an outdoor pool, meeting rooms, the brasserie and a bar Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

All the fixed elements of the employed furniture design, from the purpose-led, organically shaped bars to the tasting tables were designed by Studio Jouin Manku, with accents of leather and brass completing the bespoke aspect of the fixed furnishings.

The dining space has been sectioned into two—'The Chefs table' designed by Jouin Manku includes a modular series of raised dining tables located near the restaurant’s core, the kitchen. The earthy interior design here promotes personal interactions and conversations over produce, between food professionals and guests, and also doubles up as a buffet space when required. Diners can either stand around the high tables (for tastings or buffet self-service) or sit on retractable stools concealed in the table’s body. Custom-designed overhead bar lighting ensures adequate illumination.

A glimpse of the earthy, cosy interiors of the Mutigny Resort Hotel | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
A glimpse of the earthy, cosy interiors of the Mutigny Resort Hotel Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

The restaurant's more traditional dining lies on the periphery of the space near the bay windows, combining the views outside with the concrete structure, thus, creating intimate pockets. The ceiling, also formed in concrete, is softened with floating oak sound panels. Wood and leather bench seating along the walls here is complimented with more traditional seating and can be adapted to different configurations as required. All areas of the restaurant employ earthenware ceramics on the floor and walls, as a nod to the 'laboratory nature' of gastronomic food production.

The indoor spa area | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
The indoor spa area Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

An intimate setting in nature, the French architecture features 101 bedrooms spread across standard, executive and suite styles, furnished entirely with designs by Jouin Manku, realised in oak, wool, linen, and leather. Each guest room of the hotel’s design stays orientated towards the exterior landscape, with bespoke wardrobe handles done in vinewood and cast in metal.

The outdoor pool on the bottom level accompanies the spa and wellness areas of the Mutigny Resort Hotel | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
The outdoor pool on the bottom level accompanies the spa and wellness areas of the Mutigny Resort Hotel Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

The bottom level of the contextual design is utilised for the calming spa and wellness areas, with a chalk-toned render on the walls and vertical surfaces reminiscing the particular soil characteristics of the Champagne region, along with a pool that traverses the building's envelope. Blue slate-coloured floor ceramics also subtly recall the terroir.

  • Each suite and bedroom has views focusing only on the vine-covered hillside | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
    Each suite and bedroom has views focusing only on the vine-covered hillside Image: © Nicolas Mathéus
  • The rooms feature a clean, minimal and Scandinavian aesthetic | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
    The rooms feature a clean, minimal and Scandinavian aesthetic Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

"We have realised an architecture whose contoured and transparent form rises out of the site’s topography. An uncommon and yet honest departure from the usual context in which champagne is appreciated, the building’s purpose is to promote the diversity and beauty of Champagne’s terroir. The design carefully navigates the site’s natural attributes, and an interior design scheme that is functional, natural, and stylish,” shares the design team.

The views from the suites evoke a sense of resting in the middle of vineyards | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
The views from the suites evoke a sense of resting in the middle of vineyards Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

A coherence is established, between the region’s protagonist—champagne—and the timber clad contemporary architecture, conceived as a stage for locals and visitors alike, to taste all that the French region has to offer, wrapped snuggly in the beauty of its true context.

Warm colors and natural materials create a cosy setting for visitors | Mutigny Resort Hotel by Jouin Manku | STIRworld
Warm colours and natural materials create a cosy setting for visitors Image: © Nicolas Mathéus

"Each project is unique. Each project is a choreography. A series of interconnected moments and experiences that are inextricably linked, and that eventually make a whole. This is how we see them, this is how we develop them, looking carefully at each new step in order to bring them closer in unison with our intuitions. A space and its site have a tendency to attract objects, materials and, above all, people. Stories are written. Memories are engraved, perhaps forever. We always try to give each place that extra something that will make these moments perfect," conclude Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku, and Jacques Goubin, who head Studio Jouin Manku based in Paris.

Project Details

Name: Mutigny Resort Hotel
Location: 1 Allée de la Sapinière, 51160 Mutigny, France
Area: Floor Area - 5,770 sqm (total closed covered); Public area - 277 sqm; Wine library - 75 sqm; Bar - 75 sqm; Restaurant - 293 sqm; Seminar - 207 sqm; Private area - 2876 sqm; Stand art room - 23 sqm; Junior suites - 34 sqm; Suites - 42 sqm; Spa - 654 sqm
Client: Mutigny Resort Hotel SAS
Architect and Interior Designer: Jouin Manku
Design team: Patrick Jouin, Sanjit Manku, Jacques Goubin, Yann Brossier, Charles-Henri Rambaud, Cyril Robillard, Bruno Pimpanini
Executive Architect: SLA Architecture
Promoter: Artestate (Artec Group)
Project Manager: SAT Manager (Artec Group)
Lighting Designer: 8’18’’
Landscape Designer: Les Rondeaux
Custom Made Furniture: Jouin Manku

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