designboom visits bjarke ingels group's zigzagging hôtel des horlogers

designboom visits bjarke ingels group's zigzagging hôtel des horlogers

hôtel des horlogers OPENS ITS DOORS


Drawing inspiration from its site in Vallée de Joux, Hôtel des Horlogers has just opened its doors in the village of Le Brassus, Switzerland — the same place where its predecessor, the Hôtel de France, was established in 1857. With architecture designed by Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG, the boutique hotel has been realized by the local Swiss office CCHE, and its interiors curated by AUM. This avant-garde project has been thoughtfully designed to reflect the alpine topography of the Vallée de Joux, with its zigzagging slabs gradually descending toward its postcard meadows. 

Hôtel des Horlogers bigimage courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG





From its architecture by Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG to its daily operations, Hôtel des Horlogers adopts a holistically sustainable approach in order to reduce its environmental impact. Even its restaurants — led by Michelin-starred Chef Emmanuel Renaut — make use of primarily locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The welcoming venue invites architecture and nature enthusiasts to enjoy the Vallée de Joux and its rich heritage, contributing to the development of tourism in the area. 

Hôtel des Horlogers big
image courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG



The hotel is designed to seamlessly integrate into the landscape of its site, a place known as the birthplace of Swiss complicated watches. Leading the design, architect Bjarke Ingels was taken by the Risoud Forest adjacent to the valley and wanted all of the hotel’s rooms to provide a panoramic view of the area. As opposed to a standard hotel edifice, the structure is made up of slabs that descend towards the valley and tilt slightly, making a continuous path through nature. BIG’s concept uses the site as a series of mountain ridges that flow down the hill, and the building blocks form series of berms flanked by a mix of trees and plants.

Hôtel des Horlogers big
image courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG



inside the zigzagging architecture by BIG


The contemporary lobby of BIG’s Hôtel des Horlogers features clean lines and sophisticated language, in stark contrast to the sinuous, rustic architectural elements that can be found further inside. The hotel’s zigzagging layout leads to fifty rooms, ranging from Valley Guest Rooms to Signature Suites, along with two restaurants, a bar, a wellness center, and two seminar rooms. The project was designed to introduce a gathering place for locals, architecture enthusiasts, and tourists seeking untouched nature. It follows in the footsteps of the nearby Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet with its glass spiral, also designed by BIG, which was opened in July 2020.

designboom visits bjarke ingels group's zigzagging hôtel des horlogers
image courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG



built with inspiration from the swiss landscape


To design the Swiss hotel, Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG collaborated with interior design studio AUM along with CCHE, the local architect and general planner who was also responsible for the construction of the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet. Built with local stone and wood, the interior design exudes the serene spirit of the Vallée de Joux, while also creating a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. While the lobby boasts a striking white tree ceiling, giving the illusion of the forest being reflected on the Lac de Joux, the rooms are elegant, blending local spruce surfaces, large windows, and sleek concrete for a modern feel.


image courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG

designboom visits bjarke ingels group's zigzagging hôtel des horlogersimage courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group / BIG


image courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group /BIG


project info:


project title: Hôtel des Horlogers @hoteldeshorlogers

architecture: Bjarke Ingels Group @big_builds

location: Le Brassus, Switzerland

local architect: CCHE Architecture@cche_architecture

interior design: AUM | @aum_pierre_minassian

size: 8,715 square meters

previous coverage: April 2018


partners-in-charge: Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen, Daniel Sundlin, Beat Schenk
project manager: Simon Scheller
project architect: Matthew Oravec, Lou Arencibia And Manon Otto (Landscape), Pantea Tehrani (Interiors)
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, Malcolm Rondell Galang, Martynas Norvila, Matthew Oravec, Melissa Jones, Nicolas Gustin, Nicolas Lapierre, Otilia Pupezeanu, Pascal Loschetter, Pierre Goete Teodor Javanaud Emden, Rasmus Streboel, Rune Hansen, Seth Byrum, Shidi Fu, Sijia Zhou, Stephanie Choi, Supakrit Wongviboonsin, Terrence Chew, Tracy Sodder, Xinyu Wang, Morgan Mangelsen, Lu Zhang

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