Groupe Bernard – a bridge between tradition and modernity

Bordeaux, France

In the heart of Bordeaux’s Euratlantique district, symbolised by the striking Méca building, the headquarters of the Bernard Group inevitably attract the attention and curiosity of visitors.

This spectacular building designed by Olivier Brochet and the architects from BLP, brings together the various companies of this family-owned business on one historical site. The Bernard Group, created in 1928, is currently run by 3rd and 4th generation family members, each of whom have developed their own activity in the world of wines and spirits:

  • Lucien Bernard, which continues the Group’s original activity, is a distiller, producer and bulk trader in pure wine eaux-de-vie and brandies. It supplies the most prestigious spirits companies worldwide.

  • Millésima is a wine merchant specialising in the sale of fine wines to individual customers and is currently the leader in online sales.

  • Sobovi is a wine merchant specialising in wholesale to France’s finest restaurants and wine retailers and works with leading importers in over 80 countries.

  • Valdronne develops spirits (liqueurs, white spirits, cocktail bases, etc.) under private labels, i.e. according to customer requests, and under its own brands.

  • Last but not least, the family holding company directed by Jean Bernard owns the various companies.

Only the vineyards owned by the group (spanning around 200 ha of vines) naturally remain on their land.

What makes this architectural project (launched in 2009 and inaugurated in 2020) so original is that it groups together (over three hectares) a reception & office building – whose architectural language builds a bridge between history (by conserving heritage features) and modernity (with glass and wooden elements suspended above the reconstructed façade) – and various enormous wine and spirits storage cellars which remain vestiges of Bordeaux’s industrial history to this day.

Within the building, although the companies belong to the same group, they remain independent and they had to agree on their individual design choices. Christophe Bernard, CEO of Sobovi, undertook to coordinate these decisions with the support of teams from BLP and Galerie Tourny.

USM furniture soon seemed like the obvious choice, as it offers the possibility to create a perfect design unit while giving each company the chance to choose its own colour for the USM Haller furniture.

In the shared offices, management offices, meeting rooms and training rooms (not forgetting an exquisite glass bar table in one of the tasting rooms), USM furniture creates perfect harmony within the different areas served by the building’s spectacular central staircase.

This choice was not only motivated by aesthetic and functional criteria, but also by the Bernard family’s emphasis on quality, durability and the value of its investments.

Find out more about the Bernard Group: Groupe Bernard - Bordeaux
Photographs: Alexandre Moulard

If you want to purchase a USM Haller piece yourself design it now in our online configurator, or find your local sales partner here.