A new watch museum that is a pavilion for the art and science of watchmaking has just opened in Switzerland's watchmaking heartland, Vallée de Joux, and its spiral-shaped design references the hairspring coil in mechanical watches.
The Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet is located in Le Brassus in the Jura Mountains, which extend along the Franco–Swiss border. A network of talented artisans has been making watches there since the end of the 18th century. These include Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet, who established their workshop, Audemars Piguet, in 1875.
Designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group, the 2500 sq meter Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet tells the story of the generations of artisans who have produced timepieces for the company. Although a separate entity, the curved glass structure connects directly to the watchmaker’s existing campus, and it has a temperature-controlling brass mesh exterior.
Designed to immerse visitors in Audemars Piguet’s past, present, and future cultural universe, the main exhibition presents 300 timepieces spanning over 200 years of the company's watchmaking history. The steel roof is covered in local grass, which helps it to blend into the local environment.
The museum is a space of live crafts and encounters, and it houses the brand’s philanthropic foundation as well as exhibitions of its art collaborations. The glazed facades allow natural light into the building, and they are also load-bearing, which is important during the months of winter snow.
The spiral, low-profile form of the museum encourages a particular route through the museum. Visitors will have to reserve tours online, and they will be able to see watches being made in a workroom.
For further information, check out the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet's website here.