Inauguration of the Nicolas G. Hayek Center

N.G. Hayek Center
N.G. Hayek Center

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Biel / Bienne and Tokyo, May 23, 2007 – The Swatch Group Japan inaugurates today its new building, the Nicolas G. Hayek Center, at Ginza 7-9-18 in Tokyo. It took three years to complete the project.

In 2004, the Swatch Group acquired a building dating from the 1960s in the heart of Ginza – the Pearl Building, with a net floor area of 475 square meters. The purchase price amounted to around 150 million Swiss francs.

The Nicolas G. Hayek Center project was the subject of a competition. The winner was the renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban who envisaged the building as being constructed along the lines of a hanging garden, devoting a considerable amount of space to greenery. Taking advantage of a recent change to local building regulations, Shigeru Ban was able to create a construction project consisting of fourteen floors, going from thirty-one meters to fifty-six meters in height.

The Nicolas G. Hayek Center will be home to seven boutiques devoted to the Breguet, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, Jaquet-Droz, Leon Hatot, Omega and Swatch brands, as well as the offices of Swatch Group Japan and three floors dedicated to after-sales service. As for the 14th floor, La Cité du Temps, that will be devoted to an interaction between the brands and the public, in the form of exhibitions, concerts, and press conferences.

One special feature of the Nicolas G. Hayek Center is its hydraulic elevators which will in fact be boutiques transporting visitors from the ground floor to the exhibition halls for each Swatch Group brand represented. These platforms will move at a speed of around 15 meters per minute, giving visitors the pleasant sensation of floating across the atrium.

The Hanging Garden was conceived not as purely decorative internal greenery, but in actual fact as a new means of introducing a garden into the heart of a modern city. This wall of greenery 14 floors high will provide a marked contrast with the surrounding urban architecture.