The white core of Lindt’s new home, the world’s biggest chocolate museum

The conceptual and functional core of the Lindt Home of Chocolate in Zurich, designed by Christ & Gantenbein, is the monumental atrium: a space that is both corporate and institutional.

In the outskirts of Zurich, not too far from the lake’s shores, the headquarters of Lindt & Sprüngli is a complex of buildings which have stratified over time, now welcoming a contemporary addition of the finest quality. The Lindt Home of Chocolate is designed by Christ & Gantenbein as a company museum open to the public and a research center. Within a sober, understated envelop, it encloses an interior which is surprising on many regards.

The architectural volume is a block replicating the simple shapes of the factory buildings that surround it. Its distinctive feature is a clipped corner, an edge which turns into a concave indent in correspondence with the main entrance. Exposed brickwork, covering all elevations, is here painted white in order to highlight this exception, which anticipates the conformation of internal spaces.

Christ & Gantenbein, Lindt Home of Chocolate, Kilchberg, Switzerland, 2020
Christ & Gantenbein, Lindt Home of Chocolate, Kilchberg, Switzerland, 2020

The atrium is the conceptual and functional core of the project, as well as its most original part in terms of language. It is a monumental void (64 meters long, 15 meters high and 13 meters wide), surrounded, or you might as well say invaded, by equally monumental solids. These are the structural elements, pillars and columns, also comprising elevators, ramps, balconies and walkways, and laid out in a sequence of massive convexities.

In the words of Emanuel Christ, the aim is to “bridge the substantial gap between a commercial ambience and classical grandeur”. Target achieved: besides its obvious functional qualities (in regards to the management of people’s flows, flexibility, illumination, etc.), the atrium of the Lindt Home of Chocolate stands out precisely for its “institutional” character, as meant for instance by Louis Kahn. The private company is willing to strengthen its connection with the public city, and architecture supports this claim for a more active civic role.

Christ & Gantenbein, Lindt Home of Chocolate, Kilchberg, Switzerland, 2020
Christ & Gantenbein, Lindt Home of Chocolate, Kilchberg, Switzerland, 2020
Lindt Home of Chocolate
multifunctional building (museum, research center, office space)
Kilchberg, Switzerland
Christ & Gantenbein
Founding partners Christ & Gantenbein:
Emanuel Christ, Christoph Gantenbein
Mona Farag
Project leaders:
Anna Flückiger, Astrid Kühn, Tabea Lachenmann
Lindt Chocolate Competence Foundation
21,540 sqm

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