Christ & Gantenbein designs the Lindt Home of Chocolate near Zurich
Swiss architects Christ & Gantenbein team up with internationally renowned Swiss chocolatiers Lindt & Sprüngli to design a seductive architectural experience for chocolate-lovers in Switzerland
Christ & Gantenbein has designed a new flagship building for Swiss chocolatiers Lindt & Sprüngli near Lake Zurich. The Lindt Home of Chocolate sits in a campus headquarters of other buildings including a factory, warehouses, and an office building, and has been designed for chocolate-lovers to visit to gain an insight into the historic brand and its products.
Primarily a closed red-brick box, the building’s exterior hides the delights that lie within. It was designed to visually fit into the existing industrial campus, yet at it’s entrance, the facade peels back to reveal a section of white glazed bricks and golden letters welcoming visitors inside.
The exterior is more than a wrapper waiting to be opened. It also forms the load-bearing structure of the building. This engineering allows a vast 64-metre-long atrium – 15m high and 13m wide – to dramatically open up within. Surrounding this space, stairways swirl and walkways criss-cross, mushroom pillars evolve into cantilevered balconies and hollow columns hide elevators.
‘Almost reaching an ancient Roman scale, we‘ve created an exaggeration of industrial production with a certain tension; a tension that gives a strong presence to the architecturally distinct elements that define the interior, bridging the substantial gap between a commercial ambiance and classical grandeur,’ says Emanuel Christ, architect and co-founder of Christ & Gantenbein.
The architecture ‘orchestrates the movement of people’ through an interactive experience that dips into an immersive exhibition on the company’s history that dates back to 1845, the research and development behind the chocolate recipes, how the chocolate is produced – and of course a chocolate shop and a cafe. All of this activity swirls around the central nine metre high golden chocolate fountain developed by Atelier Brückner.
While we’ve seen Christ & Gantenbein softly mastering the curves and edges of a stone staircase at the Kunstmuseum Basel extension and playfully casting cut-outs into concrete at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich, here at the Lindt Home of Chocolate, the architects have truly turned up the whimsical nature of their work – only tastefully tested in earlier works. Here, clarity of space and circulation, deliberate engineering, and material artistry, are all equal to fantasy. §