Louvre Museum - Department of Tribal and Aboriginal Arts
Client : Etablissement public du Grand Louvre
Architect : Wilmotte & Associés SA
Engineer : Inex, Cofer
Construction cost consultant : Marc Vareille
Acoustical consultants : Xu Acoustique
Area : 1,400 m²
Fit-out and exhibition design in the “Pavillon des Sessions” building housing the Museum of Tribal and Aboriginal Arts.
In 1996, President Chirac announced the creation of a Museum of Tribal and Aboriginal Arts that would bring together the collections of the National Museum of the Arts of Africa and Oceania, and those of the ethnology laboratory of the National Museum of Natural History.
In April 2000, the arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas entered the Louvre Museum. The Pavillon des Sessions, located between the Flore and Denon wings in the southern part of the Palais du Louvre, houses close to 120 selected sculptures.
By entering into the architectural coherence of the Louvre, Wilmotte & Associés SA opted for a restrained approach. The project's first challenge was to give life back to the space, to adapt it to the works, whilst respecting the historical dimension of the building.
Distribution of the works by geographical area naturally arranged itself. In these simplified, open spaces, the transition from one area to another is marked by natural variations in the spatial volumes. This lack of partitioning gives the space a fluidity, and its very geometry encourages a progressive course. A pared-down harmony of materials (bronze, stone, and glass) contributes to the unity, purity, and clarity of the site.
Silver-bronze mesh screens are fitted in front of the massive windows that punctuate the space. The natural daylight, filtered through these screens, bathes the ensemble and creates a soothing atmosphere. It is occasionally enhanced with an artificial light that highlights the architecture. The minimalist glazed volumes and pure lines of bronze podiums make for airy exhibition spaces, with certain sculptures protected by simple blades of suspended glass. Highlighted by means of a mobile system that allows low-voltage halogen lighting to be installed throughout the space, the works are presented to visitors in all their grandeur.
Close to the artwork presentation space, a multimedia, so-called ‘interpretive’, space equipped with a dozen interactive screens provides information on the history of the objects in an entertaining manner.