Meet the Designer: Mark Gleeson – Chrismont Winery

by Po-Tien Goh

In 2016, M. G. Design & Building won 3 of the National Association of Building Designers awards for Chrismont Winery: the coveted National Building Design of the Year, Best New/ Alteration/ Addition Design – Commercial and Best Interior Design – Non-Residential.

The project was a 20-year dream in the making, with the client’s love of wine and organic Italian food fusing to create a cellar door and restaurant perched over their 30 + year old vineyards. They wanted an enduring contemporary centrepiece whilst retaining the identity of warmth and hospitality unique to their area.

With a perfect northerly orientation and unsurpassed views of the Black Ranges, Chrismont Winery has now become a destination for food and wine lovers, having been named the region’s ‘Cellar Door with BEST Food’ by Gourmet Traveller WINE 2017.

Mark Gleeson was the designer behind this project.

At the time, Chrismont was a first for the seasoned residential building design and interior design agency, but Mark’s ability to focus on a guest’s experience still resulted in an award-winning design for this non-residential project.

With a keen understanding of the brief, Mark paid careful attention to the dining experience to ensure hospitality was at the core of the project. He sourced local components for the build as a tribute to the area, successfully creating an inviting space with a stunning vista.

Here, we revisit Chrismont Winery and take “5 Minutes With the Designer” to delve into Mark’s ethos on building and design.


Chrismont Winery Entry building back


Chrismont Winery Entry Morning


Merging beauty of form and functionality, Mark’s design takes into account the different ways the public and private areas are used: cellar door, restaurant, kitchen, office, conference and storage areas. Versatility as a retail and restaurant space, beautiful views and contemporary design were all considerations which needed to be balanced out by practical applications.

Chrismont Winery kitchen servery


Mark was conscious that the large space and the components used in the build did not detract from the guest experience – namely, acoustics.

“An expansive space with concrete floors and glass partitions needs to have great acoustics. Without it, customers wouldn’t be able to hear each other talk, so it was imperative to invest in acoustic engineering in this area.”

This foresight led to working with an expert sound engineer to install acoustic panels in the angled Hoop Pine plywood ceilings.

Chrismont Winert Tasting Area


Framing the views in the double-glazed window and creating an elongated line using custom joinery creates an inviting and contemporary space.

Chrismont Winery - window opening


Chrismont Winery - window mountain view


Chrismont Winery - deck at night




The dark chocolate cabinetry in the cellar door and restaurant contrast against the light bench tops and highlights the rustic textures of the woodpile in the fireplace. The naturalistic finish of the custom-made joinery adds an element of warmth and tactile comfort to the simplicity of the room.

Christmont Winery Joinery Lighting Detail




The sleek lines of the custom cabinetry in Navurban™ dark finish carries through from the cellar door to the restaurant and retail display, allowing the produce on sale to pop.

Chrismont Winery Larder Firebox




The restaurant and cellar door areas are defined by a double-sided natural stone fireplace (built using local ‘Glenrowan’ stone), anchoring the feature as a focal point yet keeping the flow of the open-plan views.

Chrismont Winery Fireplace


Christmont Winery Restaurant Area




Floating concrete floors and long broad verandas with deep eaves embrace the sweeping views of the region throughout the expansive length of the space.

Chrismont Winery - balcony view over vineyard



The natural ply ceiling extends to the deep eaves, marrying colour and form, broadening the room and drawing the eye to the view outside.





Sturdy double-glazed automated sliding doors across the length of the deck ensure the areas are event-ready in any weather.

Chrismont Winery balcony east



Natural airflow is created by highlight louver windows, with polished concrete floors flowing out into the deck to act as a magnificent dining area.

Chrismont Winery Balcony at Night



State-of-the-art engineered acoustic panelling in the ply ceiling flows throughout the building, fulfilling a functional as well as aesthetic need.

Chrismont Winery function area



By adding frameless glass curtain walls, the large function area can cater to large groups or be partitioned for more intimate gatherings.

Chrismont Winery Conference



Adjoining work areas are disguised with sleek contemporary lines, sheeting and veneers, balancing form through structure and texture.

Chrismont Winery East End


Chrismont Winery SE Angle Morning



The texture and colours meld the interior aesthetic with the exterior character; matching the dark panelled cabinets of the cellar door.

Chrismont Winery Entry office cellar



Chrismont Winery Services area with screens


From the spotted gum entry-way to the attention to detail on acoustics, M. G. Design & Building’s Chrismont Winery shows how purposeful design and respect for the client and location can create an elegant, award-winning classic.


5 Minutes with Mark Gleeson

As part of our “Meet the Designer” series, we asked Mark a few questions about his inspirations and creativity.


Mark Gleeson of M. G. Design & Building
Mark Gleeson of M. G. Design & Building


What inspired you to become a designer?

My parents built 3 architect designed homes when I was a youngster growing up. I’m sure I was interested in design from an early age, due to this experience.


Tea or coffee?

Coffee in the morning….Tea at night.


What music do you listen to while you work?

Acoustic…when I get a choice!….although the office staff tend to take control of the daily selection, which in general is pretty good!


What art energises you?

All sorts…contemporary landscapes with deep colours always seem to grab my attention…I’ve visited MONA a few times & that always has an effect on my senses.


Your dream destination for architecture or dream building to view?

Earlier this year my wife, Jenny and I did a 2-week trip to visit many of my dream destinations. We arranged a self-organised tour to the Neutra Houses in Silver lake including the VDL Studio, and then the Stahl House, which was incredible.  I have visited Palm Springs numerous times, as my Aunt & Uncle lived there for 30 years, and this trip, a highlight was the Frey House II, which isn’t open to view very often and also the Edris House. We then visited Chicago, where the old skyscrapers blew me away as well as a tour of the Robie House. Then to continue the Frank Lloyd Wright theme, we visited Falling Water, Kentuck Knob and stayed in the Duncan House for a night….an amazing 2 weeks! My ‘dream’ though would be to see through the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs…that is my ‘all time’ favourite house!


Favourite holiday location?



The most important rule you follow when working on a project?

Keep it real and make sure it’s individual/ site specific.


Which design rule do you break?

Sometimes the ‘budget’…but I have to build them, so I need to be disciplined!


You’re stuck on a desert island and you have to build a house. What 3 things do you bring with you?

If I could only take 3 things, I’d take a tent…so then I could take some red wine and a jar of olives.


Song lyrics to sum up your thoughts on architecture & design.

“Our House” by Crosby, Stills & Nash…because the person he loves, lives in the house…which is what makes it ‘a very, very, very fine house’.






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Matthew Mallet – Photography –