Work commences for an expansion to the Audemars Piguet museum in the Vallée de Joux
For a brand as storied as Audemars Piguet, it is only by natural extension that a museum be built as a celebration of both the Manufacturer’s heritage, and the horological milestones that it has played a part in.
Nearly 150 years on since the original Audemars Piguet family home structure was erected in the Vallee de Joux, Audemars Piguet will be partnering Danish architectural firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) to create the new highlight of the “Maison des Fondateurs” project.
This will see the existing heritage structure undergo a radical makeover that results in a contemporary half-buried spiral structure, with walls made entirely from curved glass, emerge from the ground.
The result of long period of study, BIG’s spiral architecture was selected for its creativity and sensitivity to the environment.
CCHE was also designated as the project’s local architect and general planner. This important player from the Lake Geneva region has skills in town planning and architecture and will work in a cross-disciplinary way to monitor the project and ensure a flow of information between stakeholders, collaboration with the authorities, quality control and the execution of work.
An expert in museum design, Atelier Brückner is the partner selected by Audemars Piguet to manage all the scenography, staging and showcasing of the timepieces, lighting and creation of the site visit. The German firm will bring the whole atmosphere of the new Museum to life.
“Allowing each space to express its own special atmosphere, conjuring up images, creating scenes, inviting visitors on a journey and telling them a wonderful story, the story of Audemars Piguet and the watchmakers of the Vallée de Joux, this is the scenography work that we will carry out for the “Maison des Fondateurs,” said Prof. Uwe R. Brückner of Atelier Brückner.
Recounting the preparation needed for the project, Sébastian Vivas, director of the Audemars Piguet Heritage Museum, said: “Our first challenge was to assemble the best partners, as it became apparent very quickly that no similar building had ever been built at this altitude.”
To ensure that the chosen concept would work, engineers, architects and museum designers searched for innovative solutions, both in terms of scenography and the building’s structure and resistance to the climatic conditions. A life-size prototype of part of the spiral had also been constructed and set up in the Vallée de Joux as a simulation.
Like all good things require time, meticulous planning and careful execution, this expected completion time for the renewed Maison des Fondateurs is in 2019, subject to weather conditions, of course.
A Trip Back In Time
Intended as a space for sensory, treat, visitors to the museum will follow a journey down a spiral path where themed spaces offer them an in-depth insight into the origins of watch-making in the Vallée de Joux, the mechanical principles of the timepieces and an exceptional collection of world premiere enamel complication watches. These milestones aside, a number of exceptional timepieces will also be on display, each with their own stories of a design illustrated. Expectedly, the iconic Royal Oak will be amongst the highlights.
First and foremost a networking space, exhibition rooms will alternate with watchmaking workshops, relaxation spaces, sound and cinema laboratories, as well as contemporary art. Additionally, there will also be reception and meeting spaces and an area devoted to the professional preservation of the archives and the Audemars Piguet Foundation.