Brad Pitt sued over Miraval lighting dispute

Hollywood actor Brad Pitt has been sued by a French lighting designer following a dispute over the re-design of his Provence wine estate Château Miraval.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie bought Château Miraval in Provence in 2011 for a reported $60 million

As reported by the Napa Valley Register, in April, Pitt was ordered to pay £467,000 by the Paris court of appeals to lighting designer Odile Soudant, who accused Pitt of “sinking” her business after he allegedly failed to pay for costly architectural work at Miraval.

Pitt and Angelina Jolie bought the 17th century Château Miraval in 2011 for a reported $60m and were married there three years later.

Shortly after the purchase, Pitt employed Soudant and her company, Lumieres Studio, to look after the lighting design of the estate.

The Napa Valley Register reports that Pitt was keen for Soudant to take advantage of the natural light flooding the estate and work it into the design of the château, and that the actor was “obsessed” with natural light.

Lighting designer Odile Soudant is battling Brad Pitt for the intellectual property rights over the light installations at Château Miraval in Provence

The actor stopped paying for the work after three-and-a-half years, according to Soudant, who continued to work on the project apparently without payment.

Pitt’s lawyer counters that the project over-ran and was over-budget – at one point there were 17 people working exclusively on the lighting at the estate.

According to Pitt’s representative, Soudant was paid over €4 million for work she didn’t complete, a figure she claims is “inflated”.

When Soudant sent Pitt a warning letter demanding to be paid what she was owed she was banned from the property.

In April, Pitt was ordered to pay Soudant €565,000 including €300,000 in unpaid bills and €60,000 for damage to her image and reputation.

The pair are now arguing over the intellectual property rights to Miraval’s lighting design, with Soudant claiming it to be her creation and Pitt also claiming authorship.

“It’s my work, my creations. It’s like they cut off my arm,” Soudant said, frustrated at the fact that she can’t include the project in Lumieres Studio’s portfolio.

According to Pitt’s representative, the actor has personal drawings that prove many of the ideas regarding Miraval’s light installations came from him. Pitt is also currently in the middle of divorce proceedings with Angelina Jolie.

Château Miraval spans the Côteaux Varois-en-Provence and Côtes de Provence appellations.

Proving just how powerful a celebrity association can be, the first 6,000 bottles of Miraval Rosé 2012 sold out in five hours. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Rolle, the wine went on to become the first rosé to appear in the Wine Spectator’s annual Top 100 list of the most exciting wines of the year.

The estate currently produces three wines: one rosé and two whites, with a Provence red made from Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cabernet Franc in the pipeline.

Miraval’s latest release is an organic extra virgin olive oil made from a blend of olives grown at the estate and organic olives grown on similar, high quality terroirs.

This March, Marc Perrin, owner of Château de Beaucastel in the Rhône, who makes the Miraval wines in collaboration with Pitt and Jolie, was quick to quash rumours that Miraval was up for sale following Pitt and Jolie’s split.

“The rumours about the sale of the domaine are false. It is an investment for the family and the children. They are involved in all aspects of running the estate,” Perrin said.

“We have long-term projects and we’ve just released the latest vintage of Miraval rosé with ‘bottled by Pitt, Jolie and Perrin’ on the label,’” he added.

2 Responses to “Brad Pitt sued over Miraval lighting dispute”

  1. Richard says:

    Hmmm, organic extra virgin olive oil? The terraces behind the chateau in the photo seem to show olive trees…and the dead patches around the trees would indicate that a weedkiller has been applied!

    • Maria says:

      The olive trees are grown organically. You could have looked this up before stating negative, inaccurate comments.

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