Rolex’s Passion for Good Design Goes Beyond Their Watches

Through global collaboration with architects, Rolex aims to foster artistic excellence while simultaneously nurturing future masters in the field.
Exterior view of the EPFL Rolex Learning Centre in Lausanne

For a watchmaking brand to constantly stay at the top of its game for over 100 years is no easy feat. Yet, promoting excellence by taking inspiration from the past, working on the present, and looking at the future is what Rolex does best. This season, the Swiss brand celebrates the beauty of architecture by supporting the Venice Biennale as the Exclusive Partner and Official Timepiece of the event.

The International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia is the world’s most influential architectural forum running until November 26, 2023. There, you’ll find the Rolex Pavilion nestled within the lush greenery; a space to showcase the brand’s commitment to architecture through fostering the best use of space and technical innovation.

Over the years, the Pavilion has showcased some of the buildings that Rolex has worked with world-leading architects to create such as the EPFL Rolex Learning Center in Switzerland by SANAA and The Rolex Building in Dallas by Kengo Kuma. This year, the Pavilion highlights Rolex’s latest refurbishment of Melbourne’s Centenary Hall, which houses Rolex Australia. Working with architect Peter Miglis of Woods Bagot, the building showed how it was possible to create something new while safeguarding a historic building by not damaging the details of the interior and building’s facade. The Pavilion also spotlights materials used in Rolex’s boutiques so customers get to experience the sensorial Rolex universe. The materials range from marble, travertine, stucco, and glass, primarily manufactured in Italy, near Venice. Videos of skilled craftsmen show how these materials are made into objects of beauty. 

David Chipperfield, Mentor with Simon Kretz, Protégé in architecture, walking and discussing their project at Bishopsgate Goodsyard

On the facade, the Rolex Pavilion is easily recognisable by distinct design elements inspired by the fluted bezel of an Oyster Perpetual Day-Date. Having spent a year working together through the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, the Pavilion’s interior features British architect Sir David Chipperfield and his Swiss protégé, Simon Kretz’s brilliant work. To celebrate 20 years of the mentorship and creative collaboration of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, the works and collaboration of other mentors and proteges are exhibited and highlighted at Biennale Architettura. It’s a reflection of the brand’s commitment to linking artistic knowledge between generations and providing new dimensions and insights into the world of architecture.

17th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia. Rolex Pavillon. Exterior. Front

Images courtesy of Rolex. This article was first published in Grazia Malaysia 2023 September issue.