Musée des Confluences

Lyon, France


Musée d’Histoire Naturelle – Guimet aims to look back over the many years of the human adventure as a way of understanding the complexity of the world, highlighting the different phases, changes, periods of stagnation and progress over the years.

The architects that designed the museum – the Vienna-based group Coop Himmelb(l)au – refer to it as the “crystal cloud of knowledge” because of its large glass structure, which will allow visitors to get a clear view of themes of technology, biology and ethics on the horizon. The layout of the permanent collection follows a path of over 3,000 square meters and tells of the great “performance” that is humanity. By using different disciplines that interact with one another and without any set truth, the museum invites visitors to embark upon a journey of knowledge that is open to new ways of thinking.

The challenge

Goppion’s work on the exhibition layout took place in two different permanent galleries – “Species, the living world” dedicated to the place of man in biodiversity (designed by the Studio Zen+d Co.) and “Society, the theater of man” dedicated to social structure and coexistence (Studio Du&Ma.).

The solution

In the first gallery nine display cases were specially created for the smallest animals, all of which feature different looks and styles. Large mammals are placed on faceted bases, in shiny, lacquered wood. A large metallic net-like structure comes down over everything from the ceiling as a way to characterize the space and symbolize links of DNA.
The second section, which has a simpler appearance but is more sophisticated in terms of museum technology, is dedicated to works having to do with the creativity of man: from ancient Japanese clothing to home appliances all the way to automobiles, some of which are protected by large glass bell structures that allow for a complete view.