Patek Philippe: transparency at the service of sobriety and elegance
Since last year everyone has known that this year Patek Philippe was to renovate its stand on the occasion of its 175th anniversary.
Experts were thus impatiently awaiting the BaselWorld Hall 1 opening this morning to appreciate the architecture of the new exhibition building of Patek Philippe - composed and structured as a precious case. They were not disappointed!
No words can ever replace the experience of finding oneself in front of an architectural masterpiece, as there are none that can really describe the transparency and volumes. Immediately that one passed the turnstile, the attention is seized by the majesty of the Patek Philippe architecture. Imperial and playing with novelty within a context of continuity, it forces the eye to look for the lines of force of its construction to really understand its general dimensions. It is the work of the architect Ottavio Di Blasi, already famous for creating the TAG Heuer stand. As he explained, Thierry Stern adopted his proposal because it corresponded to the philosophy of openness of Patek Philippe. In the spirit of its predecessor stand, which already had a glass façade, this one goes even further in its approach to transparency.
This case-shaped stand was conceived by the Milanese architect in such a way that it inevitably follows in the tradition of the Crystal Palace, the glass building that housed first “Great Exhibition”, held in England in the 19th Century.
However, Di Blasi points out that the whole exercise consists of playing with transparency whilst at the same time expertly working on zones where a certain intimacy is needed. In terms of transparency, it would be difficult to do a better job as nothing prevents the eye from seeing the initial glass envelope that contains the seemingly levitating luminous structure within. The glass walls are supported by a structure made of 9-meter high glass monoliths by means of stainless steel fittings that perfectly blend into this architecture. This completely new technique offers uniqueness as the exterior form gives the impression that there is only one room, as the eye cannot identify anything that breaks the lines of the whole.
Discover the Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 5960/1A-001 at Baselworld 2014
To favour intimacy and to give visitors the impression that they are in some sort of cocoon bathed in the light from a delicate hanging bubble, the architect has designed the interior of this open space with a semi-transparent layout, formed of soft folding-screens. The latter have been constructed from a tubular structure upon which a sort of five and a half kilometer long braided leather brown strap has been set.
This majestic stand has been constructed in Switzerland over a period of fourteen months. It is amazing to find that it houses a lift, three floors, a private restaurant and several working rooms.
Six weeks of work are needed to erect it on the site and four weeks to take down the 70 tons of materials required for its construction. This huge puzzle is a genuine work of art, combining transparency and light with sobriety and elegance. The case is the very the image of a manufacturer which this year celebrates its 175 years of an history that writes itself daily for lovers of beautiful watchmaking and craftsmanship.