The Louvre-Lens Museum is in the heart of a former mining basin of Nord-Pas de Calais, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The museum is one of the symbols of a reconversion of a Nord-Pas-de-Calais mining basin. The Louvre-Lens is built on a twenty-hectare wasteland, the former pithead of shafts 9 and 9 bis of the Lens mines.
Linear and horizontal architecture
The Louvre-Lens is designed by the architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the Japanese agency SANAA. SANAA chose to respond to the very linear and horizontal architecture inherited from the mines with a long building on a single level.
The main structure follows the slight slope of the land without ever exceeding six metres in height, leaving the tops of the trees visible in places. In this way, the architecture is integrated into its surroundings in a subtle and respectful manner, without overwhelming it with its presence.
and light blend into the landscape
Using extremely simple forms, the architects have succeeded in making their building an element of the landscape. They have played with the appearance of the facades.
The genius of the SANAA agency is to make the architectural modules disappear by enveloping them alternately in flush full height glazing or in anodised aluminium sheets without visible joints.
The latter reflect a blurred image of the contours of the site, changing with the wanderings and the light. The museum absorbs and recomposes the surrounding park, thus creating a continuity between architecture and landscape.
5000 years of history in one place,
a dialogue between civilizations
The Galerie du Temps is the heart of the Louvre-Lens. It presents more than 200 masterpieces from the Louvre’s collections in a spectacular 3,000 m² space and offers a unique journey through the history of art, from the invention of writing in Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium BC to the industrial revolution in the mid-19th century.
Its chronological and multidisciplinary scenography creates a new dialogue between eras, techniques, and civilizations.
Its interior walls, without any opening to the outside, are covered with an aluminium skin. Their vaporous reflection puts the works and the visitors in perspective as much as it blurs the spatial limits, avoiding any feeling of confinement.
The light grey concrete floor, the monochrome purity of the scenographic furniture, the continuous and diffuse zenithal light, create an ethereal setting where the works of art seem to float, without any compartmentalisation restricting the vision or the stroll.
A choice favouring the variety of materials, sizes and shapes, contributes to enhancing each work, which the scenography allows to be contemplated from different angles and distances.
Everything has been designed to enhance the value of the works and to allow the visitor the freedom and pleasure of establishing a dialogue with them, an infinite conversation since it is reinvented by his or her own movements.
Thanks to an exceptional collaboration with the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, 18 works from Africa, Oceania and the Americas have been added to this presentation.
From now on, Western and non-Western cultures will rub shoulders even more extensively in the Galerie du Temps and engage in dialogue with each other in a space that is open to all, without borders or hierarchy.
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Numbers 07 2023
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