The watchmaker has opened its very first MB&F Lab, a retail concept intended to be more than just a watch boutique; it is also a space to showcase kinetic and mechanical art pieces that were co-created with those who share the same vision of play and wonder. Designed by architecture studio Voltige and launched in partnership with The Hour Glass, the Lab beckons passersby with its crisp, white theme, futuristic domed glass displays and a large, reflective blue lens on its main wall.
The MB&F Lab is actually a scaled down version of the brand’s M.A.D.Gallery, which first opened in 2011 in Geneva and was followed by three more in Dubai, Hong Kong and Taipei respectively. The Galleries are large enough to display some 30 “Mechanical Art Devices”, while the Lab here will have only a small selection that will rotate every few months. Still, the current pieces on display are pretty impressive. On one wall hangs “World Skies” by Brooklyn-based robotic kinectic art studio Breakfast. It uses flip discs to mimic the real-time weather conditions of the city of your choosing. Walk close enough to it and a depth sensor will enable the discs to reflect you instead, acting like a pixelated mirror. Just under it are three MB&F x L’Epee clocks — the Medusa, Grant and Octopod — that tell time in the most fascinating fashion. Over on the other end is a “Machine Light”, a sculptural lamp entirely hand-crafted by Frank Buchwald, a former science-fiction illustrator who lost his job due to the advent of CGI.