Making waves: Patricia Urquiola decks out Officine Panerai’s SIHH stand in Geneva

Making waves: Patricia Urquiola decks out Officine Panerai’s SIHH stand in Geneva

Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola looked to Officine Panerai’s marine heritage for inspiration when she began work on her design for the Italian watch marque’s new 840 sq m mega-booth at this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva.

Founded in Florence in 1860, Officine Panerai supplied the Italian Navy for many decades, specialising in precision instruments for the diving corps, and is today known for iconic models such as the Mare Nostrum chronograph.

Visitors coming aboard Urquiola’s showstopper of a booth, inspired by maritime architecture and nautical interiors, encounter an ocean-going ambience of brushed brass, cobblestone glass walls, wood panelling, banquettes and deck flooring all referencing an elegantly salty, luxury sailing vernacular. A reception desk of rope-effect wainscoting completes the yacht aesthetic, while glass vitrines redolent of nautical instruments showcase Officine Panerai’s latest collections and novelties.

Urquiola’s partnership with Officine Panerai began in 2011 when the Milan-based designer worked as art director on ‘O’Clock – Time Design, Design Time’, an exhibition at Milan’s Triennale Design Museum that included an Urquiola-conceived timeline of the  brand. In 2014 Urquiola redesigned Officine Panerai’s Piazza San Giovanni store in Florence, overseeing the transformation of the small historic boutique (the brand’s first, it opened at the turn of the century) into a 285 sq m flagship. ‘I feel a great bond with Panerai,’ says Urquiola, ‘because I share the same values: a focus on design and technology, but not in an obvious, show-off way. There is credibility, consistency and quality”.

For the SIHH exhibition stand, Urquiola created 17 different rooms, each representing a different Panerai timepiece – L’Astronomo, Lo Scienziato, Luminor Due, Luminor Logo et al. ‘This new Officine Panerai booth not only brings together very different elements, blurring the lines between the traditional and the contemporary, but also allows Panerai watches to speak for themselves,’ says Angelo Bonati, the company’s CEO. ‘We found that we shared common ground: a love of design, rigorous execution, consistency with the history of the brand and a striving for excellence.’

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