Spiraling Museum in Switzerland Designed to Mimic the Swirling Mechanics of a Watch

Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet by Bjarke Ingels Group

Photo: Iwan Baan

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.

Bjarke Ingels Group has created a sleek museum to honor celebrated Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet.

Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet by Bjarke Ingels Group

Photo: Iwan Baan

Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet in the Vallée de Joux

Photo: Iwan Baan

The Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet is designed as a spiral to recall the internal mechanisms of a watch.

Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet by Bjarke Ingels Group

Photo: Iwan Baan

A grass roof and brass mesh exterior help regulate interior temperatures and exterior moisture.

Aerial View of Grass Roof at the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet by Bjarke Ingels Group

Photo: Iwan Baan

Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet in the Vallée de Joux

Photo: Iwan Baan

Visitors are led along a spiral to experience nearly 300 historic timepieces and watch craftspeople in action.

Interior of the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet by Bjarke Ingels Group

Photo: Giovanni Emilio Galanello

Interior of the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet by Bjarke Ingels Group

Photo: Giovanni Emilio Galanello

Interior of the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet by Bjarke Ingels Group

Photo: Iwan Baan

Interior of the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet by Bjarke Ingels Group

Photo: Iwan Baan

Interior of the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet by Bjarke Ingels Group

Photo: Iwan Baan

View From Panoramic Window at the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet in Switzerland

Photo: Giovanni Emilio Galanello

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG): Website | Facebook | Instagram
h/t: [AFAR, ArchDaily]

All images via BIG.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.

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