Cozy chalets and ski resorts are what you'd expect to find in the Swiss mountains. But a unique building is emerging in Vallée de Joux. Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, opening in late June, is a spiral-shaped museum that will be home to a collection of the famed watchmaker's timepieces.
Designed by Danish architecture firm BIG—known for creating Manhattan skyscraper VIA 57 West—the museum features curved load-bearing glass walls, so there are no columns. A bronze mesh was used to cover the top portion of the exterior so light could be filtered while views of the Jura mountains remained unobstructed, according to Dezeen. The roof was then covered in grass so it could be used as an elevated park in the summers and a snowy playground in the winter. Meanwhile, the interior curvature of the walls gently guides visitors in a clockwise direction as if they were inside a watch.
The exhibits were designed separately by German architecture studio Atelier Brückner. Among the 300 timepieces on display will be astronomical watches arranged around the center like the solar system's planets. And the center will be home to the brand's most complicated watch, the Universelle, made in 1899.
Other displays will feature sculptures and models to reveal the intricate nature of how watches work. Visitors can also participate in interactive displays to test their watchmaking skills and view watchmakers at work in two studios. One will showcase a single watch being made over eight months using 648 pieces.
Two ateliers sit within the museum's coils, where visitors can watch them in action. In the Grandes Complications workshop, a single watch will be assembled from over eight months. The second, called Métiers d'Art, shows artisans working on the Haute Joaillerie collections.
The entire museum is positioned right next to the original Audemars Piguet workshop created in 1875. That building was restored by Swiss architecture firm CCHE and connected to the new spiral museum.