Audemars Piguet factory completes in the Jura mountains
Kuník de Morsier architects is behind the brand new addition to the Audemars Piguet headquarters complex in Switzerland, the Manufacture des Saignoles
The opening of the Manufacture des Saignoles in Le Locle marks the latest update in the famed Swiss watchmaker’s campus in the Jura region. The project, designed by Lausanne-based architecture studio Kuník de Morsier architects, has just been completed and brings a brand new production space, a state-of-the-art Audemars Piguet factory, to the brand’s rural headquarters complex.
Built low and following its hilly location’s curves, the building aims to blend discreetly into the green landscape. This fits within its architects’ overall approach, which favours respect and the environment. ‘Our approach is resolutely contextual, by setting up spaces that promote exchange, cohesion and connection with the environment in the broadest sense,’ say the architects.
The structure was also designed to bring together the robustness and practicality of industrial architecture and the elegance of fine watchmaking. The manufacture contains research and development units, machining, decoration, assembly, and administration and office space. The overall building’s volume is broken down into different glass-enclosed wings, jutting out seemingly weightlessly into the green surrounds to ensure all areas get plenty of natural light and views. At the same time, orientation was key for an operation as delicate and precise as haute horlogerie, so careful consideration meant that floorplans place the workshops towards the ‘calm northern light’, and the office desks towards the ‘dynamic southern light’.
The heart of the new Audemars Piguet factory hosts a central, high-ceilinged communal area – named the ‘Piazza’ – for users to gather, take a break and relax. It can be used for informal meetings and exchange but also for receiving customers and partners of the brand.
‘The architecture of the manufacture has been developed around the comfort and wellbeing of the craftsmen and the experience of users during their visit, while anticipating the future challenges of the industry and work habits,’ say the architects at Kuník de Morsier. ‘In this way, the manufacture combines the needs of the most advanced industry with the desire for creativity and social emulation of a company resolutely turned towards the future.’ §