Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet has chosen Danish architects BIG to expand its historic headquarters in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland with a spiral shaped design rooted in the origins of the company.
“The 2.400m2/25,800 ft pavilion will be a striking landmark to precision seamlessly integrated into the local landscape.” says BIG. “Team BIG, HG Merz, Luchinger & Meyer and Muller Illien’s design is rooted in the origins of the family owned company, a history of watchmaking that goes back centuries and is nested in the nature and culture of the Vallée de Joux. Surrounded by the historical workshops in Le Brassus in the heart of La Vallée de Joux, the new museum called Maison des Fondateurs, will be imbedded in the landscape – reuniting the buildings with the undulating fields of the valley.
“BIG created an intertwined spiral shaped pavilion which is conceived as a storyline for the visitors – blending old and new – and guiding the visitor through a linear sequence of spaces and events, from the entrance through lounges, galleries and workshops, to the attic of the heritage building in the workshop where it all began.”
“The intertwined spirals solve one of the dilemmas of the program. The narrative structure calls for a succession of galleries and workshops, while the logistics of operations requires the workshops to be interconnected. By coiling up the sequence of spaces in a double spiral, the three workshops find themselves in immediate adjacency – forming one continuous workspace – surrounded by galleries.”
Adds Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG: “Watchmaking like architecture is the art and science of invigorating inanimate matter with intelligence and performance. It is the art of imbuing metals and minerals with energy, movement, intelligence and measure – to bring it to life in the form of telling time. Unlike most machines and most buildings today that have a disconnect between the body and the mind, the hardware and the software, for the Maison des Fondateurs we have attempted to completely integrate the geometry and the performance, the form and the function, the space and the structure, the interior and the exterior in a symbiotic whole”.