Covered with snow, lights from the Audemars Piguet Museum shines through the immaculate snow. Image courtesy of BIG
SWITZERLAND—Audemars Piguet, the Swiss luxury watchmaker has chosen Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to expand its historic headquarters. Making the announcement, Jasmine Audemars, President of Audemars Piguet´s Board of Directors, explains the selection: “We are proud to announce the winning proposal of our new Maison des Fondateurs project, a new flagship for Audemars Piguet and a place for people to enjoy and share the passion of watchmaking. La Maison des Fondateurs not only symbolizes the deep connection between the brand and its origins but also its spirit of independence and avant-garde.”
The 2.400m2/25,800 ft pavilion, according to BIG, “will be a striking landmark to precision seamlessly integrated into the local landscape.”Called Maison des Fondateurs, the new museum will be imbedded in the landscape – reuniting the buildings with the undulating fields of the valley. Surrounded by the historical workshops in Le Brassus in the heart of La Vallée de Joux, Maison des Fondateurs, BIG’s design is an intertwined spiral shaped pavilion conceived as a storyline for visitors. The design guides visitors through a linear sequence of spaces and events, from the entrance to lounges, galleries, and workshops, to the attic of the heritage building in the workshop where it all began.
Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG notes that: “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 hole”.
Blending old and new, the museum is interconnected with historical workshops and galleries by coiling up the sequence of spaces in a double spiral. The ambiance of the building is accentuated by undulating roof and ceiling that allows daylight and views to the exhibits. Bjarke Ingels notes:
I have always admired Swiss architecture for its flawless craftsmanship. Swiss buildings sometimes make you suspect that they have been built by watchmakers. That we are now working directly for the family of the original founders Audemars and Piguet is going to be an amazing exploration in mastery and innovation”, says Bjarke Ingels.