Back in the late 1970s and 1980s, rock superstars like Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and The Cure would journey to a 900-acre estate near the French Riviera, where they would set world records. turning points – not only among them was Pink Floyd’s 1979 album. wall (partly recorded there) – in the middle of a bucolic paradise.
After two decades of oblivion, that studio will soon rise again. And Brad Pitt is the reason for it.
Nestled inside its winery, Studio Miraval consists of three houses, where artists live while recording, taking breaks to recharge in the swimming pool. An on-site chef will prepare all of their meals. The studio itself is about 3,000 square feet, with a 650 square foot control room.
That quaint destination – famous in the music world for suggesting all sorts of creative alchemy – was acquired by Pitt and then-partner Angelina Jolie in 2012.
The couple bought the entire property for $60 million, after leasing it out four years earlier. In 2014, they married in Miraval’s 13th-century chapel – originally a barn for the Templars – which brought guests into the 30-room manor, built in 1841.
The recording facility dates back to 1977, when then-owner Jacques Loussier, a French jazz pianist, decided to build his dream studio. It was in use until 20 years ago, when its analogues fell behind the times, its buildings fell into disrepair.
But Pitt – who divorced Jolie in 2016 and is the owner of the estate, splitting the wine business in the middle from the Perrin family – is currently overseeing a spectacular renovation of Studio Miraval, which will open for business in the summer of 2022.
To help him with the project, Pitt reached out to Damien Quintard, a 30-year-old music engineer living in Paris who had worked with Brian Eno and Gaspard. Augé by French engineering duo Justice and contributed to the development of the Dolby Atmos system.
Pitt came to know Quintard through his work in the fine arts world, including a collaborative installation – titled Echo, it combines motorized sculptures, lighting, video animation and exaggerated speakers – for New York’s Museum of Modern Art to reopen after renovations in 2019.
In 2020, Pitt proposed a meeting. “We clicked,” Quintard said The Hollywood Reporter via a Zoom chat from his Paris offices. “He came to my studio in Paris. It was a great meeting. We talked for hours. He told me about his plans for Miraval. Obviously I’m super excited, because as a Frenchman and a music lover, one of the Holy Grails is Miraval. I went there, designed my space. We clicked on that side, and we moved forward.”
Quintard – who began working as a recording engineer, or recording engineer, for a symphony orchestra – had an eye on Pitt when it came to the apparent minimalism of their vision.
“What I noticed is, he has a keen sense of emotion and simplicity,” he said of Pitt. “The most beautiful records are also made with absolute simplicity. My whole philosophy has to do with that – the simple beauty of mono recordings from the 1950s and 1960s, using a single microphone. ”
That philosophy extends to their architectural plans. “In its former state,” Quintard says, “It’s the ’70s – classic and in its own way, beautiful.” However, the cramped quarters and low ceilings have no relation to the outside, where the southern French sunshine floods every nook and cranny.
“With Brad, we redesigned everything to be so simple, so pure. Light is everywhere,” Quintard continued. “The future is light.”
When the facility opens in 2022, Studio Miraval will be made available to all major record labels: Imagine Billie Eilish doing spins and sipping on Miraval rosé’s Studio (French press). Le figaro dubbed “the superstar of the rose”) before heading back to the studio to lay down some music, waving to Pitt on his way inside.
But Quintard says the new Studio Miraval will be more than just a high-end recording medium. “We wanted to do different types of production there – cinema, theater, fine arts,” he said. “It’s a new Florence there.”