Rolex and architecture

Rolex Feature

06 Dec 2016

A Profound Synergy

Just as great buildings are created by visionary architects, visionary watchmakers create watches that meet the highest standards of performance. Rolex recognizes the profound synergy between the two disciplines, which both require innovative thinking and powerfully creative ideas. Rolex has always been guided by a culture of excellence in all its endeavours, whether reaching for an unrivalled blend of technical perfection, functionality and aesthetics in watchmaking; commissioning the finest buildings for its worldwide operations; or supporting talented young architects through the philanthropic Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.

La Biennale di Venezia

Rolex is proud to be associated with the world’s most important forum for architectural ideas through its support for the International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia as exclusive Partner and Official Timepiece. This major partnership runs for three editions of the exhibition (2014–2016–2018) and emerges naturally from its commitment to architecture of the highest quality. The exhibition runs from 28 May until 27 November in 2016.

Kengo Kuma’s Dallas Building for Rolex

In the construction of its own buildings, as in its watchmaking, Rolex has always embraced innovative ideas, and Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s design for a Rolex sales and service centre in the Harwood district of Dallas is no exception. The floors of the seven-storey building rotate like a slightly twisted deck of cards. Every part of the building embodies Kuma’s uniquely sensual articulations of space, form, surface and nature.

Studio Albini’s Rolex Service Centre, Milan

The commission for Rolex’s new repair and logistics centre in Milan was to transform a 1950s building in the Porta Romana area. But Studio Albini found a radically different solution producing, literally, a shining example of refined modern architecture ─ and a new kind of visual presence befitting the brand. Louvres and screens are key features on the building’s facades.

Architects of the Future

Rolex’s support for architecture is embodied in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, the philanthropic programme begun in 2002 that fosters young artists in seven artistic areas, including in the field of architecture. By giving these emerging talents access to a great artistic master for a year, they are given the time to learn, create and grow at a crucial point in their career.

Sir David Chipperfield and Simon Kretz

The mentor in architecture for 2016–2017 is British architect Sir David Chipperfield, who is respected worldwide for his diverse body of work. Among his notable buildings are the reconstructed Neues Museum in Berlin, the Museo Júmex in Mexico City and the UK’s Turner Contemporary gallery, recently chosen as a 21st-century British landmark. His protégé is young Swiss architect Simon Kretz who expects his year of mentoring with Sir David “will profoundly influence his understanding of the methodologies of architecture.”

Peter Zumthor and Gloria Cabral

Protégée Gloria Cabral, from Paraguay, spent several months working with Peter Zumthor and his team in Switzerland, immersing herself in Zumthor’s architectural principles, which favour a deeply human response over an intellectual one. Zumthor was impressed by Cabral, having asked her to manage a project to construct a tea chapel in South Korea. “She has an inner strength and that inner certainty. She trusts her intuitions,” he says.

New 2016 watches

Cellini Date

The Cellini Date adds a date display suffused with elegance, tradition and poetry, showing on a single dial the current day, the days gone by and the days to come.

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