Lindt Home of Chocolate

Kilchberg / Switzerland / 2020

29 Love 3,402 Visits Published

The headquarters of Lindt & Sprüngli, the Swiss chocolatier, founded in 1845, are located near Lake Zurich on the outskirts of Switzerland‘s most populous city. The firm‘s long and successful history of producing quality chocolate manifests creations from Lindt & Sprüngli as the epitome of quality chocolate. Its products are available in more than 120 countries worldwide. They are sold by 28 subsidiaries in more than 500 of its own stores. Lindt & Sprüngli‘s HQ features a factory, warehouses, an office building, and the new gateway to the campus, the Lindt Home of Chocolate, which is financed and operated by the Lindt Chocolate Competence Foundation.

This new flagship building is a striking, contemporary counterweight to the eclectic assemblage of buildings. Set to become one of Switzerland‘s most visited buildings, this multifunctional experiential space combines a user-focused, mixed-use program in an exceptional new type of civic architecture. Elevating the visibility of the Swiss Chocolate industry to new heights, it is built to seduce visitors with the many charms of chocolate. It features an interactive, immersive exhibition about chocolate, a research and development facility for future chocolate recipes, a production plant, a chocolate shop, a cafe, and offices – all connected by spiraling staircases and cascading walkways crisscrossing a vast atrium.

In its center, a dramatic, nine-meter high, golden chocolate fountain was developed by Atelier Brückner, also authors of the exhibition. Designed by Christ & Gantenbein, the Home of Chocolate parallels Lindt & Sprüngli‘s factory site‘s logic, history, and urban structure: A classically composed, industrial box, in dialogue with the surrounding factory buildings. The facade, consisting primarily of red brick, references its neighbors in an abstract reinterpretation based on a readymade industrial product that is manually grafted into a specific construction element. The south-eastern corner is cut out and interrupts the otherwise simple volume. Clad with white, glazed brick adorned with golden letters, this quadrant opens a public square right at the Lindt Home of Chocolate‘s entrance.

A vast atrium, 64 meters long, 15 meters high, and 13m wide, reveals both a dramatic void and the architectural order‘s elementary presence. A series of round load-bearing pillars and walls create a robust structure around which all activities are organized.The columns reveal a building full of movement; stairs, elevators, walkways, and bridges produce spatial and experiential connectivity and communication, which is at the core of the Lindt Home of Chocolate, radically contrasting its almost calm exterior. At first glance, what appears simple is actually an intelligently engineered building of multifaceted complexity; a solid architectural form built to last, yet at the same time, built to withstand fluctuations through flexibility; where resilience and robustness collaborate towards a multiplicity of potentially shifting applications.

The Lindt Home of Chocolate‘s structural system is itself a hybrid, where aesthetic, functionality, and construction come together in a column-free volume with a load-bearing outer shell. Emanuel Christ says …“Almost reaching an ancient Roman scale, we‘ve 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.

To celebrate the experience of chocolate in many ways, we‘ve scripted the Lindt Home of Chocolate‘s interior as a space that orchestrates the movement of people.“ Jürg Conzett, structural engineer for the Lindt Home of Chocolate: „The supporting structure in the interior essentially consists of an in-situ concrete skeleton. In the area of the atrium, the loadbearing parts become multifunctional elements. Thus, mushroom pillars mutate into cantilevered balconies, and hollow columns contain elevators as well as zones for pipes to ascend. Generously dimensioned spiral staircases also circle around these vertical support elements.

The unusually large dimensions of the supporting structure create a unique scale and contribute to the extraordinary spatial effect of this building.“ The Lindt Home of Chocolate, Christ & Gantenbein‘s second completed cultural project in Zurich, besides the Swiss National Museum and its extension, is a highly technical and complex hybrid. Combining industrial production, showroom, museum, shopping, and cutting-edge research & development, among others in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, it‘s ultimately a space where contemplation, entertainment, research, and interaction come together in a new spatial experience.

[The museum exhibition]

The Lindt Chocolate Competence Foundation invites small and large guests to take part in a journey of discovery into the wonderful world of chocolate. Planned and designed by ATELIER BRÜCKNER, the Chocolate Tour provides information on the origins, history and production of the mouth-watering delicacy. It shows some specific details about Switzerland and makes it possible to experience the cocoa-containing products with all the senses in an exhibition area covering 1500 square metres. 

The museum exhibition is located in the Lindt Home of Chocolate, a new building by Swiss architects Christ & Gantenbein at the headquarters of Lindt & Sprüngli in Kilchberg near Zurich. The world's highest, free-standing chocolate fountain in the foyer of the museum serves as the prelude to the world of chocolate. It is 9.30 metres high and circulates 1000 litres of liquid chocolate, flowing from a large, hovering wire whip down into a Lindor ball on the ground. 

Borne along by the aroma of chocolate, visitors proceed on a tour of discovery on the first floor of the building. Sounds, smells, media stations and visitor-participation systems allow them to become part of the different scenarios. Designed individually, each exhibition room communicates through the senses and with information to convey an aspect of the world of chocolate. 

At first, the visitors travel to a cocoa plantation in Ghana where they learn everything about the cultivation, harvesting, fermentation and drying of cocoa beans – as well as about the quality assurance process. Being all about the 5,000 years history of chocolate, the "Chocolate History" room features a digitally animated 360-degree panorama picture and has a round media table in the middle. It shows how the preparation and consumption of chocolate has changed over the centuries. How Switzerland became the "home of chocolate" is conveyed in the "Swiss Pioneers" room. The first chocolate factory was opened in Vevey as early as 1819. The all-round, hand-painted Swiss panorama is an invitation to make one's own discoveries. 

The subsequent time tunnel "From Past to Present" illustrates the changes in the manufacture and marketing of Swiss chocolate from 1900 until the year 2000. And how does chocolate production function today? Visitors find this out in the "Production" room, which, with its smooth, shiny surfaces, is based on an actual factory. In this room, three chocolate springs, where the different composition of white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate can be tasted are a special attraction – and not only for young visitors. 

The darkened adjacent room with the name "Chocolate Cosmos", which is surrounded by an atmospheric projection of stars, finally places chocolate as a product in a global context before visitors are taken to the "Chocolate Heaven" where they can taste a sample of Lindt products. Large-format Lindor balls supplement the narrative space. They are designed as photo booths. 

Finally, the visitors cross a bridge over the foyer of the building to reach the "Innovation Lab", which opens out towards the light-filled interior. The exhibition architecture takes up the architecture of the building. This area concerns some questions about the future: Can there be chocolate without cocoa trees? How is artificial intelligence changing the production of chocolate? And can chocolate be made in a carbon-neutral manner? As soon as the visitor approaches, the initially opaque glass of the display case becomes transparent and reveals explanatory films and selected exhibits, including a replicated cell culture. 

The heart of the "Innovation Lab" is a real testing system, the entire interior of which can be seen. Specialists use this system to develop new chocolate creations. Augmented animation enables an X-ray view into the insides of the machines. The Chocolate Tour ends with a chocolate souvenir: A small bar of chocolate from the testing system, packaged in a golden ball, rolls through a lovingly designed marble run before it falls into the hands of the visitor. 

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    The headquarters of Lindt & Sprüngli, the Swiss chocolatier, founded in 1845, are located near Lake Zurich on the outskirts of Switzerland‘s most populous city. The firm‘s long and successful history of producing quality chocolate manifests creations from Lindt & Sprüngli as the epitome of quality chocolate. Its products are available in more than 120 countries worldwide. They are sold by 28 subsidiaries in more than 500 of its own stores. Lindt &...

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