Case Study: Le Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, Le Brassus, Geneva, Switzerland
SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayer supports first-of-its-kind building to showcase watchmaking expertise.
Stunning spiral design balances amazing mountain vista with the demands of snow-based physics, creating the perfect monument to watchmakers.
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, 2021. Located Le Brassus, in the Jura mountains, about an hour north of Geneva in Switzerland, the Musée Atelier is an architectural homage to the skill, intricacy and sweeping shapes associated with the fine art of watchmaking.
The building – the result of an architecture and museography competition launched in 2013 – is located on a site which Audemars Piguet has occupied since 1875. Taking seven years to develop and now complete, it is a staggering example of architecture, meets nature, meets watchmaking and has laminated safety glass – using SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayers from Kuraray – to thank for supporting and enabling its stunning shape, form and function.
Jasmine Audemars, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, explains: “The Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet pays tribute to the watchmakers and craftspeople who have made what Audemars Piguet is today, generation after generation. This living museum was born from a desire to present our craftsmanship and legacy in a building that reflects both our deep-rooted origins and our forward-thinking spirit.”
When viewed from above, the structure – the first of its kind to be built at such altitude – resembles a watch spring and comprises two interlocking spirals, separated by glazed panels, looping around a common centre. They are differentiated from each other when viewed from the side by their varying roof heights; instilling the building with an almost oscillating spiral waveform too.
Danish architecture firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) pushed the envelope of design with this spiral-shaped pavilion by having the living roof entirely supported by curved laminated-glass interior and exterior panels – complementing the design of the founders’ house and the first workshops where Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet established their company in 1875.
“Watchmaking, like architecture, is the art and science of invigorating inanimate matter with intelligence, performance, movement and measure; to bring it to life in the form of telling time,” explains Bjarke Ingels, BIG Founder and Creative Director.