by Jincy IypeMay 21, 2020
The new Lindt Home of Chocolate in the Swiss town of Kilchberg is a treat for chocolate lovers from Switzerland and abroad. Conceived as 'much more than a museum', the facility is located inside the headquarters of Lindt & Sprüngli and is designed by Basel-based firm, Christ & Gantenbein. Surrounding the building are warehouses, a factory and offices.
Replicating architectural references from its context, the museum is projected as cuboidal industrial block cladded in red bricks. However, on the south-eastern side, which houses the building's entrance, a cut out interrupts the otherwise simple volume and gives form to a public square. Distinguishing itself as the prime face of the building, this particular façade features white, glazed bricks and over it the name of the building is written in big, golden letters.
Contrasting the 'calm' exterior, the building on the inside is full of 'visual' movement. "To celebrate the experience of chocolate in many ways, we have scripted the Lindt Home of Chocolate's interior as a space that orchestrates the movement of people," says architect Emanuel Christ, co-founder of Christ & Gantenbein. As per the firm, the scheme defines "a solid architectural form built to last, yet at the same time, built to withstand fluctuations through flexibility".
Mushroom pillars, spiral staircases and circular cantilevered balconies criss-cross the interior volume and surrounds a vast atrium. Cascading walkways and staircases connect the various programmes within the building, which includes the world’s largest Lindt Chocolate Shop, Switzerland’s very first Lindt Café, a Chocolateria for courses in chocolate making, a production plant, and an interactive exhibition tracing the origins of the famous chocolate.
The 1500 sqm exhibition takes visitors on a journey into the world of chocolate; first stop to which is a cocoa plantation in Ghana. The exhibition also provides a glimpse into the chocolate production as well as a complete tour in the tasting room, where several masterpieces await to be sampled. A 30ft high, golden chocolate fountain sits at the centre of the atrium, developed by Stuttgart-based Atelier Brückner, who is also the author of the chocolate exhibition.
The in-situ concrete skeleton of the building with its monumental dimensions creates a unique scale and offers a striking spatial effect. In the area of the atrium, mushroom pillars mutate into cantilevered balconies, and hollow columns contain elevators; generously dimensioned staircases circle around the vertical supports.
"Almost reaching an ancient Roman scale, we have created an exaggeration of industrial production with a certain tension; a tension that gives a strong presence to the architecturally distinct elements that define the interior, bridging the substantial gap between a commercial ambiance and classical grandeur,” explains Christ.
Projected to 'redefine what civic buildings can be', The Lindt Home of Chocolate is Christ & Gantenbein‘s second completed cultural project in Zurich, besides the Swiss National Museum and its extension.
Lindt brand ambassador Roger Federer explores the Lindt Home of Chocolate with the Lindt Maître Chocolatier. Watch the "Grand Opening" here.