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25 March 2018 / leggypeggy

Don’t be a square—visit the Cube and its urinals

Image from the video show at the d'Arenberg Cube

Laughing cat from the video show at the d’Arenberg Cube

d'Arenberg Cube

The d’Arenberg Cube on a cloudy day and with covered grapevines in the foreground

We hadn’t been in Adelaide for long when our sister-in-law, Charlotte, asked if we’d heard about the d’Arenberg Cube in McLaren Vale. We knew of their wines, but the Cube was new to us, so off we went to have a look.

This fabulous structure, opened just a few months ago, looks like a giant two-tone Rubik’s cube in the midst of being solved.

men's room, d'Arenberg Cube

Not your typical toilet sinks

Video, d'Arenberg Cube

Part of the video

In 2003, d’Arenberg’s chief winemaker Chester Osborn came up with an idea to build something that depicted the complexities and puzzles of winemaking.

The five-storey building cost $15 million, and includes public and private tasting rooms, several bars, a 360-degree video room, an art gallery and a restaurant.

Ground floor is devoted to the video show, the art gallery and a—what should I call it—a sniffing room. Two walls are decorated with paper flowers and two with plastic fruit. You can squeeze a rubber bulb attached to a flagon, and smell the bouquet of various wine ‘flavours’.

Fruit wall, d'Arenberg winery

Fruit wall

We had a guide on this floor, and she told us to be sure to stop by the toilets on first floor to see ‘the most photographed urinals in Australia’. That claim is a bit of a stretch. Hey, the place has only been open for a few months. But I can imagine them achieving such a record over time. The artworks above are from the women’s toilet.

Our guide advised us to send in the men first to make sure the ‘coast was clear’ and then rush in with our cameras. We did as we were told. But we did that on the way out.

After starting with ground floor, we made a beeline to the wine tasting area. Surely 11:30am is not too early to be trying wines? We tried four—two whites and two reds—and I bought six bottles of the two wines I liked the most. They weren’t cheap and I’ll save them for special occasions.

The wine-tasting floor has some fun furniture, amazing views over McLaren Vale and displays including some of the awards the winery has won. I rather liked the belt buckle they won in Houston.

View over McLaren Vale

View over McLaren Vale

My history with d’Arenberg wines
I’ll always recognise a d’Arenberg wine—it’s the distinctive red stripe on the label. I first encountered their wines in 1976 in Cairo, Egypt. 
Poor John was in the Australian Embassy then and I was studying at the University of Cairo. People in the embassy were able to bring in Australian beverages to serve when entertaining. He’d ordered in d’Arenberg wines and Swan beers (Western Australia). Good memories.

And now for the urinals!

Urinals, d'Arenberg Cube Urinals, d'Arenberg Cube

77 Comments

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  1. Miriam / Mar 25 2018 11:50 am

    How fabulously quirky! Amazing art work and just love the whole concept of the cube, definitely different. Oh, and by the way, 11.30 is not too early to start trying wine. Cheers and enjoy!!!! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Vicki / Mar 25 2018 12:21 pm

    Amazing. Love the urinals. I think I’d be in there in 2 seconds for a photo shoot. Going by your photos, I imagine people would visit just for the decor (let alone the wine tasting).

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 25 2018 1:15 pm

      The decor is fantastic. We had such a good time and the wines were tasty too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. gerard oosterman / Mar 25 2018 1:04 pm

    Good wines always go together with good urinals. Were there any colourful women conveniences at d’Arenberg?
    The urinals look a bit frightening. They could well put some men off their intentions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 25 2018 1:17 pm

      Yep, the urinals have to be disconcerting. Probably photographed more than they are used. 🙂

      Like

  4. trE / Mar 25 2018 1:06 pm

    It looks like such a fun place to explore! And, those urinals!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Frank Prem / Mar 25 2018 1:14 pm

    Strewth, Peggy.Talk about straining the potatoes! These are extraordinary. Enough to put a chap off his aim.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Chris Riley / Mar 25 2018 1:22 pm

    What a hoot. I’m so pleased you built up the anticipation for the urinals, and featured them last in your post. A great belly laugh on a Sunday morning….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ortensia / Mar 25 2018 1:42 pm

    The place is absolutely amazing…..but what about women toilets? I’m curious

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 25 2018 2:11 pm

      It is amazing. The paintings in the middle of the post (in the block of pics with the two wine bottles) are some of the art in the women’s toilet.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. koolkosherkitchen / Mar 25 2018 3:05 pm

    With so many people stopping by those urinals to ogle and take pictures, is there even a chance for those who want to use them for their direct purpose? Just kidding – the whole concept is amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 25 2018 3:13 pm

      I think that’s why the guide says the men should go in first to see if anyone is using them!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Robert Parker / Mar 25 2018 3:32 pm

    I re-read your title, to make sure I’d gotten it right, this is a riot! Definitely the strangest thing seen this week 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 25 2018 3:36 pm

      You got it right. Guess you don’t need to have your eyes checked!

      Like

  10. thewonderer86 / Mar 25 2018 6:09 pm

    What an amazing place!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yvonne / Mar 25 2018 8:06 pm

    Good old Aussie humour at its best!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. beetleypete / Mar 25 2018 9:22 pm

    Looks like an amazing place, and it has wine too!
    I never learned how to save wine for a ‘special occasion’. In my world, opening the bottle is occasion enough. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. derrickjknight / Mar 25 2018 9:26 pm

    They must be taking the piss

    Liked by 1 person

  14. MichaelStephenWills / Mar 25 2018 10:10 pm

    What a hoot and great marketing. Will keep an eye out for the brand.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. a mindful traveler / Mar 25 2018 11:00 pm

    Well this is quite an extraordinary building, but those urinals take the cake Peggy….just love them. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Phil Huston / Mar 26 2018 5:55 am

    What I love is the way the design distorts the equilibrium, sort of a touch of Escher. Well, almost as much as I love those fantastic wing back chairs and couch and the elevator that looks like you’re walking into an old Seeburg jukebox (oops, just aged myself). I grew up in Oklahoma City. Flatland USA. But we has some crazy 50’s architecture. This place reminds me of the Mummer’s Theater. Talk about floating boxes…

    https://savingplaces.org/stories/oklahoma-city-modernist-mummers-theater-faces-final-curtain#.WrfvKIjwaHs

    Hopefully the Autralian wine country can keep their floating cubes afloat. What a great place. One shouldn’t visit in any way intoxicated or that elevator would be a straight shot into Alice’s wonderland or a Hesse dreamscape. And should wax on about the late 60s and early 70s, forget those restrooms. Eeeeeek!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 26 2018 7:46 am

      What a perfect comparison—the surrounds of the elevator door look exactly like an old jukebox. Pity about the demise of the Mummer’s Theatre. I think our Cube will stay afloat. It’s getting up to 1000 visitors a day on weekends, and people aren’t complaining that it’s a blot on the landscape.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Monica Graff / Mar 26 2018 6:00 am

    Too funny. Those urinals sort of activate the gag reflex! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Curt Mekemson / Mar 26 2018 6:19 am

    Alright, Peggy. Those urinals do deserve attention! Really fun. Maybe the best I have seen in the unusual urinal department. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  19. susan@onesmallwalk / Mar 26 2018 7:32 am

    Top tourist destination? Urinals, of course! Thanks for the smile today.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Gilda Baxter / Mar 26 2018 7:40 am

    Peggy, such a fun post…thanks for giving me a chuckle 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. shawnthompsonart / Mar 26 2018 8:21 am

    Nice pictures, those Urinals are creepy!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 26 2018 9:29 am

      I think they must seem creepier to men than they do to women.

      Like

  22. Catnip Blog / Mar 26 2018 11:05 am

    Showing the urinals after the wine tasting . . . I’m assuming this was more of a necessity rather than a pictorial plan. . .

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Jolandi Steven / Mar 26 2018 3:02 pm

    What a quirky, fun place to visit. This is right up my alley, and as I won’t get to Australia in the near future, at least I could experience it through your eyes. Thanks, Peggy.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. jeanleesworld / Mar 26 2018 9:41 pm

    Okay, I admit that when reading this one of the Monty Python audio sketches came to mind about Australian table wines… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cozw088w44Q

    That said, this is a REALLY cool spot. I like the idea of having a bit of education, fun, and style all put together in such a way. And those urinals are most certainly worth a photo!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 26 2018 9:46 pm

      Oh Jean, that audio clip is hilarious. Thanks so much for sharing it. The Cube was great fun and we were so glad Charlotte suggested it. We were glad the coast was clear so we could visit the urinals too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeanleesworld / Mar 26 2018 9:48 pm

        Glad you liked it! It’s a fav of Bo’s and mine. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Mar 26 2018 9:54 pm

        Our wines are rather better now! 🙂

        Like

  25. Green Global Trek / Mar 26 2018 11:20 pm

    The whole place is unique, novel and quirky. Love the sniffing room! The urinals are a riot! Why do boring white when you can have so much color and fun?!

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 27 2018 8:03 am

      Yes, why do boring white when the world is full of colour!

      Like

  26. chattykerry / Mar 27 2018 6:03 am

    Fascinating. I think I might be put off by the gaping mouths if I had a penis…

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 27 2018 8:03 am

      Yes, rather off-putting. Worse if they had teeth.

      Like

  27. Osyth / Mar 27 2018 10:42 pm

    Love this. Love the art in all its expressions – in fact it rather reminds me of my daughter’s graduation exhibition last year – so many facets, so many personalities father Art has! For my husband the only thing of note would be the wine, by the way – this is my cross to bear 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 27 2018 10:49 pm

      I love it all too, but the wine is a big drawcard!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth / Mar 27 2018 11:02 pm

        You will get on SO well with my husband (and me if I am being truthful) 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Mar 27 2018 11:39 pm

        We’ll have to make it happen someday.

        Like

  28. simpletravelourway / Mar 27 2018 11:09 pm

    Oh, yes. Pretty special! The urinals, we mean. Oh, did you think we were talking about the wine? Hope that’s as interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 27 2018 11:38 pm

      The wine is brilliant too. Had some d’Arenberg tonight, but a cheaper version.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. J.D. Riso / Apr 2 2018 9:16 am

    Looks like a delightful place to explore…but maybe I’d use a bathroom elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 2 2018 9:48 am

      Then perhaps best not to taste too much wine! 🙂

      Like

  30. vinneve / Apr 4 2018 7:18 pm

    Back in 2013 I supposed to have my birthday celebrated in Adelaide but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Perhaps this will add to my list of things to see someday. That is a funny interesting place!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. In My Cluttered Attic / Apr 6 2018 5:21 am

    So much creativity and imagination here. Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Sy S. / Apr 6 2018 10:13 am

    I love the “Laughing Cat” artwork! And for the men’s urinals #$^&$@, I hope the guys don’t laugh to much while doing their business and have good aim.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 6 2018 2:15 pm

      Ah yes, Sy, aim is the important issue here. hahaha

      Like

  33. adventuredawgs / Apr 12 2018 6:15 am

    That is a far cry from the wineries we have in Ontario. It look like the kind of place where you’d be really careful not to sample to much of the wares because that art could get trippy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 12 2018 7:32 am

      It’s a far cry from most Australian wineries, but you’re right about not going overboard on the tastings. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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