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Inspired Pairing

Text Naomi Larkin Photographs and Videos Gavin Elder (portrait of David Lynch), supplied Design collaborations are central to Dom Pérignon’s manifesto and now it’s SA’s turn. A huge block of chalk hewn from the vineyards in France’s Champagne region has arrived in Johannesburg. It will be incorporated into a broader art piece for Cape Town’s Ellerman House by renowned Pretoria-based sculptor Angus Taylor, whose work includes massive heads and figures made of stone and granite. The project is the brainchild of Richard Geoffroy, Chef de Cave for Dom Pérignon, who has flown in to launch it and to introduce the legendary champagne house’s 2004 vintage to South Africa. Richard is the mastermind behind Dom Pérignon’s ‘Power of Creation’ concept, which embraces design in its broadest manifestations, including the artistic processes inherent in developing a vintage as well as collaborations with global creatives such as Angus. ‘Dom Pérignon is about inspiration, about turning constraints into possibilities. The extra soul. The reinvention,’ Richard says. As Chef de Cave for Dom Pérignon since 1990, it is Richard who decides which champagnes rate a vintage. The prerequisites, he says, are that the wine not be over-technical and that it has ‘presence, radiance and intensity’. A vintage is ‘seamless and smooth’ and must last the distance. The creation of a vintage is akin to the evolution of a collaboration as both require time and there’s an ‘element of risk’ and ‘mystery’, he says. ‘You can’t force nature over time... I’m a sculptor of time to an extent. Part of my material is time.’ While in Cape Town Richard also partnered with the executive chef of The Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort, Peter Templehoff, to create a menu that paired exceptional cuisine with Dom Pérignon champagne varietals. ‘There is nothing more legitimate than finding collaborations... finding an edge between raw and sophistication’ Richard says. Previous Dom Pérignon collaborators have included artist Jeff Koons, jeweller Stephen Webster, multi-disciplinary designer Marc Newson and film-maker/artist David Lynch. Angus says: ‘Richard is collaborating with what nature gives you and I am doing the same with the material that was taken out of the ground.’ This article was originally featured in the August 2013 issue of House and Leisure. Watch Gavin Elder's videos below featuring Dom Pérignon's collaboration with sculptor Angus Taylor and Richard Geoffroy's visit to South Africa.