In the spring of 2010, the East Wing of Paris’s Musée de l’Armée reopened to the public following a ten-year renovation. The East Wing offers a fascinating and spectacular tour through French history. First to open were galleries celebrating the campaigns of the French armed forces from the 17th century to the Second Empire. With the subsequent opening of a second series of galleries, visitors can now journey though French history from the middle ages to the present day.
Building and Exhibition design: Adeline Rispal, Réperages Architectures, Paris
In 2007, the Musée de l’Armée engaged us to renovate the galleries of Departement Moderne. The challenges were considerable: we had to undertake a vast, technically complex project and integrate the layout design with the existing building structure in a relatively short time.
Our work highlights the interaction among the layout design, the display cases and the building. According to Adeline Rispal’s museum design concept, broad showcases, based on an anthropomorphic grid pattern, contain the prestigious collections lined up in an orderly fashion that recalls troops on the march. Mirrors at the back of the showcases multiply the number of uniforms to produce a mass effect and to show the soldiers from all sides. The showcases pass through the partitions between the rooms, either virtually or in actual fact, to express army corps moving across ever vaster stretches of land.
A modular, unitized structure of metal and glass paneling was used in the galleries, completely covering the masonry and forming wall linings and false ceilings to conceal the technical installations. The back panels of false walls contain built-in display cases, while the false ceilings both contain the accent lighting units and form the upper elements of the display cases.
Over 200 exhibition cases thus disappear from sight, allowing patrons to see the content and supporting educational materials without any apparent barriers. Goppion’s expert application of mechanical and structural engineering, electronics, and climate-control technology allowed us to realize the vision of the museum and exhibit designers. Goppion’s rigid quality control processes were personally vetted and approved by the Museum Director, General Robert Bresse.
Exhibition area: 2,000 m2; exhibition units: 400; length of the exhibit fronts: 360 m