BIG and Atelier Brückner’s new museum space for Audemars Piguet is a metaphor for time itself
Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, a new cultural arm of the Swiss luxury watch brand, opens today. Studding a high mountain valley, the spiral-shaped museum building – designed by Bjarke Ingels Group with scenography by Atelier Brückner – is located on the outskirts of the Swiss village Le Brassus, where the watchmaker was established in 1875. The project is a metaphor for the timepieces themselves – throughout the winding, illusory exhibition space, visitors are able to explore the rich heritage and craftsmanship of Audemars Piguet.
Atelier Brückner’s interiors divide the museum content into transforming, thematic chapters, from ‘First Watchmakers’ to ‘Designing Time’. ‘Visitors experience the route as a flowing continuum with a composed narration,’ says a spokesperson for the studio. ‘Each chapter has its own design language and is introduced by an interlude, a mechanical sculpture or an artistically designed display item.’ These showcases, together a platform to display over 300 watches from Audemar Piguet’s archive, are embedded precisely into the architecture.
At the centre of the exhibition and building lays the brand’s crown jewel: the Universelle, known to be the most complicated, intricate watch Audemars Piguet has ever created, with 1,168 individual parts. The designers positioned eight other watch models around the Universelle to reference the planets of our solar system rotating around the sun. Progressing through following chapters, guest eventually find themselves at a workbench, which invites them to re-enact the technical and design aspects of watchmaking.
A material palette of glass, brass, bleached ash and glossy black lacquer was utilized to build the museum. But the designers worked with an immaterial palette, too: the space manipulates reflections and shadows, using them in combination to ‘create a spectacle in which the course of time is inscribed’.
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