It’s no secret that Brad Pitt is passionate about architecture and interior design. The Oscar-winning actor launched a furniture collection with Frank Pollaro, narrated a documentary about the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Temple of Unity and built homes for Hurricane Katrina victims through his foundation Make It Right.
Pitt’s latest project is the thoughtful restoration of a recording studio at Chateau Miraval, the southern France winery he bought in 2012 with his then-wife Angelina Jolie. (Last October, in the wake of the couple’s divorce, Jolie sold her 50% stake to a subsidiary of the Stoli Group.) Château Miraval is where Pitt’s wine brand, anchored by its famous Côtes de Provence Rosé, which comes in a voluptuous bottle, is done.
In 1977, long before Pitt got involved, the studio was built by former winery owner Jacques Loussier, himself familiar with the world of music from his career as a pianist and composer. Some of the best musicians in the world have recorded there, including Pink Floyd (the band hosted sessions for The wall album), The Cure, Sting, AC/DC and Sade.
Miraval Studios plans to unveil its new look in the summer of 2022. The redesign is a partnership between Pitt and French producer Damien Quintard (who has worked with artists like Arca, Parcels, Teodor Currentzis and Brian Eno). Pitt and Quintard met in Paris, hit it off, and were faced with their first major decision: use the existing studio or start from scratch?
It was the first that convinced them, especially after discovering that much of the existing equipment was still in working order. The design came next. “I was amazed by the simplicity of [Château Miraval]. The purpose of this place is to give back to nature and to honor the curves of the estate,” says Quintard. AD, noting that the exterior landscape and natural light will be major factors in the design of the studio. “When you enter this wildlife sanctuary, you feel part of it all. From the olive trees to the vines, everything is bathed in light.
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One of the first additions to the studio will be a Pitt and Quintard-designed console with hybrid analog/digital capabilities, a Dolby Atmos system, and enough tech to power the pre-mix for film and TV projects. Recording booths, a room dedicated to housing vintage synthesizers, and workstations for editing sound and video will also be included.
Loussier’s drum room, which embodies the “legacy of quirky sound,” will be preserved, and a 3,445 square foot concert hall and 1,000 square foot control room will be added. Another source of inspiration is that much of the original equipment, tied to iconic musicians and albums, will continue to be used.
Quintard says he and Pitt share “a common vision for a recording studio that feels like home.” And for groups from elsewhere, there’s room in a tower connected to the studio to crash, with a pool also available to them.
After two decades without hosting musicians, the studio is almost ready to record its next song, on flutes of sparkling wine or glasses of chilled rosé, of course. “With Brad’s eye for design and my appetite for progress in sound, we’ve built something quite touching and moving that really connects the recording room,” says Quintard. “We can’t wait to share more with you!”