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Fraser Suites | Rue du Marche | Geneva

After a lengthy, complex intervention, the old Rollex building – located in one of the main commercial arteries of Geneva- has been transformed into a modern mixed-use building with a large commercial base rented to operators boasting great international prestige, 67 serviced apartments hotels and 7 residential apartments.

Fraser Suites | Rue du Marche | Geneva

After a lengthy, complex intervention, the old Rollex building – located in one of the main commercial arteries of Geneva- has been transformed into a modern mixed-use building with a large commercial base rented to operators boasting great international prestige, 67 serviced apartments hotels and 7 residential apartments.

Interview with Charles Pictet

Fraser Suites Geneva

 

“The main façade makes you enter a third dimension thanks to its depth. A very impressive play of light.””

 

How did the project start? There was already an existing building known for its famous bar on the first floor. Casacuberta laid down the challenge to me to see what could be done with said building. It wasn’t easy, the volume that the existing building occupied established the maximum that we could build on the ground and in terms of height.

 

The biggest architectural challenge? To build and demolish at the same time. The previous building was constructed from two buildings which had a double wall between them. We demolished half the building and left the other half standing. We dug deeper than with the original building and put a microstructure on the ground. We started building below the Benetton store, whilst the store was still in business, and at the same time we started demolition above it until we had achieved two upper levels and one lower level. Then we just demolished the store and built it again. Then we just demolished the store and built it again. In the space of a mere eight months Benetton was up and running again.

Its two facades undoubtedly stand out. Yes, we wanted to have two different expressions in each one, the one facing the commercial area and the one facing the old area. The latter blends into the environment, whilst the main façade sets out to create an impression right from the outset. You enter a third dimension thanks to its depth. The glass creates a very impressive play of light and movement.

 

It is a prime space, endowed with natural light thanks to its interior courtyards. How were they devised? As it is a building endowed with great depth, we had plenty of space for the rooms so we made the most of this to create interior courtyards. They are sources of natural light. The brightness together with the blue colour of the tiles creates a great feeling of freshness in the interior. The courtyards afford quality to the rooms as well as providing the feeling of being outdoors.

 

 

“Privacy, comfort and light. These are the main aspects this building has to offer. We want people to feel good.”

What is the experience that the building proposes to the people who stay in it? A feeling of privacy. We wanted to create a very comfortable atmosphere in small apartments, to achieve a very practical and at the same time generous experience. Where people feel good in relation to the proportion of the dimensions. In addition, walking through the interior of the building is very intuitive and simple.

 

What would be retained of the building? With the Rue du Marché façade, the architecture moves around forming a whole body and space. And with the turquoise blue courtyard and the feeling that there is water somewhere. It is a very beautiful moment.