The project of the new Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Audemars Piguet in Les Saignoles, (Le Locle, NE) was developed and realized between 2017 and 2021 by the Swiss office Kunik de Morsier architectes.
For the watchmaker’s needs, they designed a new kind of building. Built horizontally on the hill, the Manufacture fits discreetly into this landscape resulting from the folds of the Jura. Its surroundings create a succession of biotopes characteristic of the region. The whole blends into the geography of the Jura and the astral time. The contours and mate- rials are chosen to intensify the user’s or visitor’s experience of the environment, natural light and the movement of the sun.
The Manufacture houses all the programmes necessary for the manufacture of the most complicated watch movements: research and development, machining, decoration, assembly and administration. These work areas all meet the most demanding requirements of industrialisation and fine watchmaking. They are arranged on the hillside in such a way as to maintain multiple links with its topography, its views and the light necessary for the various watchmaking activities.
The Manufacture has an industrial vocation and brings together on one and the same level all the manufacturing and assembly stations for the precious movements. In a centripetal manner, the necessary programmes find their place according to their orientation and the light they capture. The workshops in the calm northern light and the administration in the dynamic southern light.
In the centre there is a large meeting space which has been named Piazza by the users.
It is a place for informal exchanges, workshops, co-creation, and the multiplicity of knowledge that encourages interaction between people, networking of skills and the creation of a strong identity for the watchmakers on the site.
The architecture of the Manufacture has been developed around the comfort and well- being of the craftsmen and the experience of users during their visit, while anticipating the future challenges of the industry and work habits.
In this way, the Manufacture combines the needs of the most advanced industry with the desire for creativity and social emulation of a company resolutely turned towards the future.