Tokyo (SCCIJ) – The Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet is investing in the future of “Made in Switzerland” with two contemporary production sites featuring modular spaces. While a new avant-garde building has just come into operation in Le Locle, another is on the horizon in Le Brassus. Both sites meet strict ecological standards.
A cutting-edge architecture
Situated in Le Locle, the Manufacture des Saignoles hosts the workshops of Audemars Piguet Le Locle – previously known as Renaud & Papi – which specializes in complicated watch mechanisms. The new manufacturing site, on which construction work started in 2018 and ended in the spring of 2021, consists of a 10,400 square-meter one-story building spread on several split levels to suit industrial flows.
The new building seamlessly integrates the relief of the valley and draws inspiration from the surrounding meadows, marshes, and forests. The Swiss architect office Kuník de Morsier combines the well-being and comfort of employees while giving prominence to natural light and new technologies. The building features large bay windows made of SageGlass, a cost, and energy-efficient electrochromic glass that tints automatically depending on natural light.
Free of fossil fuels
In addition to filling each workshop with light, this type of glass ensures thermal regulation all year long and offers a full view of the surrounding landscape. This “light architecture” has been developed in collaboration with Marilyne Andersen, Professor of Sustainable Construction Techniques at EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne. Audemars Piguet utilized her expertise in natural-light well-being to develop workspaces responding to the specific needs of each occupation.
Free from fossil fuels for its heating system, the Manufacture des Saignoles combines two wood pellet heating furnaces, a heat pump, and additional heat waste recovery elements. In addition, the building includes a system that prevents air draughts and ensures even temperature diffusion all year long. The roof is further equipped with 300 photovoltaic panels, covering a total surface of 480 square meters, for a power capacity of 80kW.
Unification of all sites
In Le Brassus, the construction of the Arc, conceived by Swiss office De Giuli & Portier Architectes, has been entrusted to Steiner SA. This new U-shaped building will spread across 17,000 square meters divided between three floors and a basement with the technical rooms. In addition, the Arc will be connected to the current Manufacture des Forges. Together, the two buildings will reunite under one roof all of Audemars Piguet’s industrial sites currently scattered across the Vallée de Joux.
Construction work started in the spring of 2021 and is due to be completed in 2025. The modular layout anticipates the future needs of the company. At the leading edge of technology, the Arc also gives pride of place to daylight thanks to electrochromic SageGlass windows. This new construction aligns with Audemars Piguet’s commitment to promoting architecture that is both avant-garde and respectful of its environment.
Text: Audemars Piguet (editing by SCCIJ)