Young designers revisit classic Audemars Piguet collections
May 23, 2011 Innovations

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The University of Art and Design Lausanne (ECAL) is exhibiting three watch prototypes that were inspired by the Manufacture’s great classics. It’s a way for the company to express its commitment to design.

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A progression through three legendary watch collections: the Royal Oak, the Royal Oak Offshore and the Millenary. It’s also the culmination of a project carried out over an entire year by students in the University of Art and Design Lausanne (ECAL) under the supervision of the famous French designer Ronan Bourroullec in ECAL’s Master’s Program in Design and the Luxury Goods Industry. “Students were asked to give free rein to their imaginations, designing pieces that could be part of these collections, but still shake the DNA of the brand up a bit,” explains Augustin Scott de Martinville, head of the school’s master’s programs. “That being the case, they naturally came up with bold ideas that were nonetheless perfectly respectful of the codes that govern the world of Audemars Piguet.”

Created in 2008, this postgraduate degree is producing a new generation of designers who are able to meet the demands of the high-end segment of the market. They will be able to create new luxury products by putting into practice what they’ve learned about new technologies, traditional skills and the various materials used in the sector.

“This artistic collaboration with ECAL illustrates Audemars Piguet’s openness and commitment to creativity,” emphasizes the brand’s artistic director, Octavio Garcia, who led this cooperation with the prestigious Swiss design school.

It’s not the first time that ECAL has collaborated with the watchmaking Manufacture. Audemars Piguet is a privileged partner of the Master’s program in Design and the Luxury Goods Industry. Students designed and produced a jewelry accessory in 2009, and leather purses last year. “Working with a traditional company like this is a real opportunity, because it represents an unquestionably high level of savoir-faire. At a time when the notion of luxury is bandied about indiscriminately, becoming more of an abstract idea, it is important that our students discover the watchmaking culture,” says de Martinville, who is also a designer in the Lausanne-based BIG-GAME studio.

Note: the three prototypes will be exhibited until the end of June in Elac, ECAL’s exhibition hall. For more information: www.ecal.ch

Photo ©Peter Mauss