• Europe
  • France
  • Museums of decorative arts, craft, design
  • 2000-2009

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Paris, France


Reopened in 2006 after 20 years, the wing’s new, expansive layout encourages visitors to experience the history of the decorative arts chronologically or thematically. The chronological route begins with an exploration of a spectacularly restored Late Gothic church and traces the development of the decorative arts from that time to the present day. The thematic route includes galleries devoted to a single style all the way to the 2000s, while period rooms, such as the 18th century Salon Talairac and Salle Barriol, display the works of art by placing them in their original context. A whimsical gallery of dolls, marionettes and toy cars shows the history of art in miniature, using children’s objects.

Exhibition design: Oscar Tusquets (TD&A) & Bruno Moinard (4BI) Associated Architects; Sylvain Dubuisson; Bernard Desmoulin; Daniel Kahane; François-Joseph Graf, Paris

The challenge

The key challenge Goppion faced was developing several parallel projects simultaneously, each of which were based on different concepts of how the display cases would operate and appear. The galleries designed by Bernard Desmoulin and his group called for architecturally distinctive cases which, by promoting the visibility of the mechanics, entered into a sort of conversation with the objects on display. While on the other hand, those designed by Moinard and Tusquets called for cases that would seemingly disappear in order to highlight the objects on display.

The solution

In all, Goppion and the various design teams collaborated to create 142 display cases as well as panels, bases, and other display apparatus for the 25,000 square-meter exhibition area. Two exhibition design teams worked on this vast project, each creating galleries with distinct identities, materials, and forms. From a technical standpoint the key challenge was developing and producing the technical equivalent of two different projects within one space and time. Prototyping the most significant elements and analyzing the solutions with the design teams and Museum management was fundamental to the project’s success. Only through extensive 3-D modeling were we able to strike the right balance between architectural and functional requirements. We had to devote particular attention to the doors, sealing systems, and fiber optic lighting equipment, coming up with varied solutions to meet the requirements of the many different case styles. We suspended a display case in the toy gallery and then used an innovative tensioned cable system to make it safe for children.

Project data

Exhibition area: 25,000 m2; exhibition units: 142; length of the exhibit fronts: 509 m