Le Brassus, 1 April 2019– Swiss Haute Horlogerie manufacturer Audemars Piguet celebrated the unveiling of its latest Lounge designed by Brooklyn-based artist and designer Fernando Mastrangelo within Art Basel Hong Kong’s Collectors Lounge in 2019. The immersive design, which evokes Audemars Piguet’s home in the Swiss Jura Mountains, will travel to all three Art Basel shows in 2019.
Mastrangelo is known for crafting sculptural objects from natural materials, including salt, sand and rock. His new lounge concept titled The Valléeinvites visitors to experience the Vallée de Joux, cradle of Swiss Haute Horlogerie and home of Audemars Piguet since its founding in 1875. By deconstructing and reconstructing nature and playing with time’s geological manifestations, Mastrangelo creates a dialogue between past and present, interlinking the purity of nature and the passing of time, which aptly resonates with Audemars Piguet’s craftsmanship.
As Mastrangelo explains: “It has been so rewarding to work with such a wonderful team on the Audemars Piguet Lounge. When I visited Audemars Piguet’s home in Switzerland, I was struck by the location’s timeless beauty and the technical mastery demonstrated by its watchmakers. Material elements are integral to their roots and at the core of my practice. The result is a design that experiments with forms, materials, and textures and creates a universe inspired by the Vallée de Joux.”
Minerals extracted from the region have been cast and repurposed into walls, display cases, and furniture. At the centre of the lounge, a forest made of sand and silica-moulded spruce trees showcases examples of the Manufacture’s latest collection, Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet, as well as vintage watches of unconventional design. Behind the watchmaker’s desk in the technician’s corner, a wall of strata appears as a disassembled expanse of the Vallée de Joux’s Combe Noirequarries. This Strata Wall also displays five intrinsic components of Audemars Piguet’s latest watch collection—gold, brass, aventurine, sapphire glass and iron—depicting its history rooted in the region and the intricate process of Haute Horlogerie.
The lounge also contains a smaller area dubbed the Escape Lounge, designed for visitors to relax and experience a moment transported to the Vallée de Joux at sunset. This area’s architectural design uniting the round and the octagonal is inspired by the complex geometry of Audemars Piguet’s new watch collection. Its curved walls present a dark rugged terrain of sand and a lighting system which replicates the natural light of the Vallée, captured by high-tech drones.
As Olivier Audemars, Vice President of the Board of Directors explains, “It gives us great pleasure and pride to present a new lounge concept by Fernando Mastrangelo at Art Basel Hong Kong, marking a continuity in Audemars Piguet’s relationship with an artist whose concepts directly parallel the artisanal quality and craftsmanship at the heart of our heritage. Our partnership is a natural fit given Fernando’s technical mastery, skilful precision and dedication to creatively presenting the natural world around him.”