Designed for the Lunelli family's Tenuta Castelbuono vineyards by Arnaldo Pomodoro, the Carapace is a new wine cellar which is intended to challenge the boundaries between sculpture and architecture. It is desscribed as "the first sculpture in the world in which one lives and works, a unique project in which art and nature, sculpture and wine speak together emphasising the uniqueness of both the content and container".
The Carapace is the latest expression in the ambitious project of the Lunelli family to repeat, beyond the Trentino region, the excellence achieved by Ferrari sparkling wine. In 2001, fascinated by the ancient and almost mystical land of Umbria and by an extraordinarily powerful and long-lived wine called Sagrantino, the Lunellis acquired Tenuta Castelbuono, 30 hectares of vineyards in the municipalities of Bevagna and Montefalco. Initially efforts were focused on converting the vineyards to be entirely organic, a process consisting of both new vines and the upgrading of existing ones through a complex project of clone selection. In 2003 the Montefalco Sagrantino was created, followed the next year by the Montefalco Rosso.
There was the need, however, of a new winery and the Lunelli family, thanks to a solid and long-standing friendship with Arnaldo Pomodoro, asked him to plan it. The artist accepted with enthusiasm and after the first "on the spot" visit he had already envisioned the project, stating, "the landscape reminded me of Montefeltro, where I was born and reproduced by Piero della Francesca in his works. Therefore, my work must not disturb the gentle hills with vineyards, but it needed to integrate with them. I had the idea of a shape that resembles a turtle, symbol of stability and longevity. Its carapace represents the union between earth and sky."
Construction began in 2006, and the winery's inauguration is set for June 2012, marked by the introduction of a new wine label. The Carapace is a large dome structure, its copper cover lined with cracks "in memory of the characteristic furrows of the surrounding landscape". A sculptural element in the shape of a red arrow sticking into the ground symbolises the work's location in the landscape. Upon entering the Carapace, Pomodoro's style is immediately recognisable, giving the sensation of setting foot inside one of his sculptures.
Carapace is a wine cellar which elicits emotions, even for its creator, who notes, "for the first time in my life I have the thrill of being able to walk, talk and drink inside of one of my works."