In the vineyard of arts

The Vertical Panorama Pavilion, designed by Berlin-based studio Other Spaces, offers a special kind of experience: tasting California wine amid unique art and design.

Usually you do not find works of these artists in a winery: Ai Weiwei, Keith Haring, Louise Bourgeois. Just to name a few.

However, Mei and Allan Warburg are generally not up for the ordinary. The couple has endowed their Donum Estate in Sonoma, California, with an art collection of a special kind. More than 50 large-scale sculptures and installations created by world-renowned artists have been placed outdoors on the 800,000-square-foot estate. The Donum Collection is now one of the largest private sculpture collections in the world.

Keith Haring, King and Queen
King and Queen by Keith Haring, The Donum Collection

Place of passions

But let’s get back to the winery. Donum’s Pinot Noir is considered one of the best in California. Here, wines are produced in small quantities “to do full justice to the nuances and complexity of the terroir,” as the operators put it. “The intuitive style of the Donum winemaking team results in beautifully balanced wines that are informed by terroir.”

But the Warburgs wanted more. They wanted to create a place that would bring together all their passions: art, design, nature, wine. They commissioned Studio Other Spaces (SOS) to create just such a place – and the Berlin-based studio of artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann designed the Vertical Panorama Pavilion.

The Donum Estate

Discovery journey of the senses

For the construction of the pavilion, a hill was chosen from which a panoramic view of the vineyards of the valley, the bay of San Pablo to the south and The Donum Collection is possible. The pavilion is not only for wine tasting. It will take visitors on a sensory journey of discovery through visual, acoustic and olfactory experiences.

Vertical Panorama Pavilion

“The Vertical Panorama Pavilion enables a unique encounter between our senses and our surroundings. The design aims to create a holistic experience,” says SOS.

Perpetual calendar

The design was inspired by historical, circular calendars, as SOS further explains. The 832 colored glass tiles of the cone-shaped roof represent the same. They represent the annual mean values of the four parameters essential for viticulture: Solar radiation, wind strength, temperature and humidity.

Vertical Panorama  Pavilion, The Donum Estate

The colors chosen, in turn, are based on the surroundings, on the hues of the Sonoma Valleys. They again emphasize the connection with the terroir of the surrounding vineyards.

Raising awareness in the Vertical Panorama Pavilion

Olafur Eliasson designed the pavilion after a visit to Donum in 2019, Mei and Allan Warburg tell us, “The sun provided a contrast to the surrounding color spectrum. We had a sip of Pinot Noir and in that moment the Vertical Panorama Pavilion was born.”


In 2022, the time had come: the tastings could begin. Under the oculus, the “bull’s eye,” a north-facing oval window in the roof structure, benches can be arranged according to group size. The seating area is intentionally lower than the surrounding vegetation; according to SOS, visitors are to develop a “physical awareness of the soil, the surrounding biodiversity, and all the elements necessary to make the wine that is about to be tasted.”

Unique escape from everyday life

“While we continue to strive to produce the best Pinot Noir in California, we bring together people with shared passions – for good wine, fine art, design and sustainability,” Donum Estates says. “We offer an escape from the everyday”.

Sitzgruppe im Vertical Panorama Pavilion

And Studio Other Spaces adds, “The Vertical Panorama Pavilion puts the mind and body in a state that aims to make both the wine tasting even better and the experience of the wine itself unique and unrepeatable. Each day at Donum Estate thus becomes inimitable and leaves a deep impression in our memories.”

Text: Michi Reichelt
Bilder: The Donum Estate, Adam Potts