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BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

Switzerland Architecture News - Sep 27, 2022 - 15:13   1266 views

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG has designed a new hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus, Switzerland

Named Audemars Piguet Hôtel des Horlogers, the 8,700-square-metre hotel is located in the Swiss Vallée de Joux town just outside of Geneva. 

The project marks the second collaboration between BIG and Audemars Piguet, following the firm designed a spiral museum for Audemars Piguet in 2020

BIG's new hotel is situated just steps away to the spiraling museum, Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, connected by the Watchmakers' path, reminiscent of this historical journeys from the Vallée de Joux to Geneva. 

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

Image © Audemars Piguet

Both buildings, Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet and Audemars Piguet Hôtel des Horlogers, make up the campus to create a new Le Brassus experience in Switzerland.

"The Hôtel des Horlogers builds on the history of the Hôtel de France, established in Le Brassus in 1857 by members of the Audemars Piguet family," said BIG.

"The hotel became an important stop on the Chemin des Horlogers – the watchmaking route that connected the Vallée de Joux workshops to Geneva, where timepieces were sold by retailers." 

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

Image © Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet commissioned BIG to design a new hotel complementing the luxury brand’s values and sustainability mission. 

BIG created zigzagging slabs that gradually descend towards the valley to design continuous spaces and expand views towards nature. 

The slabs are tilted softly to embrace the site and creates a visual path between nature and architecture. 

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

"While the Audemars Piguet museum located just steps away defines a visitor experience inspired by the centripetal and centrifugal forces of time through the spiral form, the hotel welcomes its guests into the ‘time’ journey by reimagining the historic winding watchmakers’ trail that the region is known for," BIG added in its project description.

BIG plays with three elongated volumes in the form of slabs where each of them is connected through a path for continuous interior circulation. 

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

Guests are guided to the hotel entrance from the main access road, they approach the hotel through a generous driveway. From this entrance, the hotel appears as a single slab, with the four additional floors tucked into the landscape below.

The material language of the hotel is defined by timber and concrete. Taking cues from the natural landscape enveloping the building, BIG introduces warm and pared-back materials in the exterior entrance, complementing the natural landscape.

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

The exterior of the hotel is clad in a system of interwoven wood louvers, which is inspired by the log cabin overlay aesthetic, while they also provide shading for the façade and enhancing the building’s energy performance. 

BIG fully integrates this shading system with the stepping geometry of the wooden slabs and maintains the transparency from the main access road to the valley, and re-establishes the connection between the village and the pastoral landscape. 

The interior design, following the same warm and aesthetic language, is led by AU*M - who draws inspiration from the architecture’s indoor and outdoor vernacular – created through the architecture’s tilting slabs that provide the interior spaces with framed views of the surrounding valley. 

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

As guests move in transition from the main entrance into the reception area, they are welcomed with more sinuous and rustic material palette, highlighted with materials such as glass, concrete, stone, and wood blurring the delineation of the constructed and the natural.  

Below the entry space, BIG designs a spa, conference center, and two restaurants that are orientated towards the valley. These spaces offer sweeping views and get natural light while also acting as individual destinations along the continuous interior path. 

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

Giving pride of place to gastronomy, the Hôtel des Horlogers’ restaurants are overseen by three-Michelin-starred French Chef, Emmanuel Renaut.

"On the interior, the building’s five slab-layout forms a single, continuous ramping corridor – connecting the interior programs and facilitating both guest and service circulation," BIG added. 

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

All guestrooms, arranged within a five slab-layout, provide views of the surrounding Risoud Forest.  

The hotel was certified with Minergie-ECO, a Swiss label for new and refurbished low-energy consumption buildings. 

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

The hotel addresses the local ecological and social sustainability requirements to reduce its environmental impact – from the building’s design and construction to its day-to-day operations. 

To achieve this, the hotel is equipped with 86 photovoltaic panels that provide part of the building’s energy needs. 

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

BIG reveals hotel with zigzagging slabs for watchmaker brand Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus

Danish firm BIG and Rotterdam-based practice Barcode Architects designed a triangular housing block in Amsterdam's IJburg district in the Netherlands. BIG also completed a new refugee museum with soft corten steel volume in Denmark. 

Project facts

Name: Audemars Piguet Hôtel des Horlogers

Architects: BIG

Status: Completed

Location Text: Le Brassus, Switzerland

Size in m2: 8,700m2

Client: Audemars Piguet

Collaborators: CCHE Architecture, Ingphi SA, Pierre Chuard Ingenieurs-Conseils SA, Sorane SA, Duchein SA, MAB-Ingineurs SA, Ignis Salutem, EcoAcoustique SA, Alterego Concept SA, Jean Pitteloud, Thorens et associes SA, SOCIETE DENOGENT.

Project team

Partners-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen, Daniel Sundlin, Beat Schenk

Project Manager: Simon Scheller

Project Architect: Matthew Oravec, Stephanie Choi

Project Designer: Otilia Pupezeanu, Pantea Tehrani

Team: Aaron Mark, Amro Abdelsalam, Aurelie Frolet, Casey Tucker, Catalina Rivera, Claire Thomas, Claire Wadey, Deborah Campbell, Ethan Duffey, Eva Maria Mikkelsen, Evan Wiskup, Francesca Portesine, Gaurav Janey, Haochen Yu, Ibrahim Salman, Il Hwan Kim, Jan Leenknegt, Jason Wu, Ji-Young Yoon, Josiah Poland, Ku Hun Chung, Lu Zhang, Malcolm Rondell Galang, Martynas Norvila, Melissa Jones, Morgan Mangelsen, Nicolas Gustin, Nicolas Lapierre, Pascal Loschetter, Pierre Goete Teodor Javanaud Emden, Rasmus Streboel, Rune Hansen, Seth Byrum, Shidi Fu, Sijia Zhou, Supakrit Wongviboonsin, Terrence Chew, Tracy Sodder, Xinyu Wang.

BIG Landscape: Lou Arencibia, Manon Otto

All images © Maris Mezulis unless otherwise stated. 

All drawings © BIG.

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