David Chipperfield just became a Rolex guy. Not because the renowned British architect wears the famed brand’s timepieces—though he may—but because of his new proposal for a breathtaking glass skyscraper in the middle of New York City.
The Swiss watchmaker ran an international design competition to decide who would handle the commission for its new US headquarters in New York. Today, Chipperfield emerged as the victor. His triumphant design—which evokes a series of giant stacked boxes—will replace the existing Rolex home on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street that the company has occupied since the ‘70s.
“We are proud to have been selected to design the Rolex USA headquarters building,” said Chipperfield. “Our team is committed to creating an exemplary building befitting the heritage and culture of the Rolex brand, as well as its prominent 5th Avenue location.”
At 165,000 square feet, the lofty tower appears to emit a golden glow and ample straight lines—reminiscent of the regal Rolex crown. The 25 stories are spread across five stacked cubes, which gradually reduce in size as they head toward the sky. This clever cascading design means there is space on each cube for outdoor terraces and balconies.
The tower’s façade features alternate glazing—some portions are completely transparent, while others appear to be opaque—that creates an eye-catching zigzagged effect overall. Moreover, Chipperfield has ensured an eco-friendly fit-out: The building achieved the Platinum rating in the LEED green building certification, the highest level of environmental and sustainable design.
The new headquarters will hold office areas for staff and tenants and provide brand experiences across a wide range of Rolex’s products. There will also be a flash new Rolex store located on the ground floor (watch this space). Rolex hopes the highrise will become a symbol of the excellence, quality and precision that are hallmarks of the storied brand. Looks like they’re off to a promising start.