Architectural design team Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) recently finished its contemporary extension of Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet's historic premises. Nestled next to the historic home where Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet set up their workshop in 1875, the Danish architecture firm has created a contemporary spiral that rises from the earth. This space is now a museum that celebrates the watchmaker's most innovative models and allows the public to come into contact with the craftspeople who create them.
Located in a remote valley of Switzerland's Jura Mountains, the museum was assigned to BIG in 2014 when its design won an architectural competition. Floor-to-ceiling windows give panoramic views across the valley and BIG uses different techniques to regulate the museum's temperature. This includes wrapping the building in brass mesh and laying grass over the steel roof. The floors are covered in locally sourced stone in another nod to the environment.
The spiral structure is an homage to the internal mechanisms of a watch and is also used to guide visitors along a natural path through the collection. As visitors move through the museum, they'll take in almost 300 pieces from the Audemars Piguet collection, including an 1899 vintage watch with over 1,100 parts.
There are also interactive parts of the collection, including a workbench where visitors can try their hand at crafting these luxury timepieces. Workshops are also incorporated into the space, allowing the public to watch Audemars Piguet's skilled craftspeople carrying out their work.
The Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet opened to the public on June 25 and the watchmaker is already working with BIG to create a nearby hotel in order to expand tourism in the area.