Sited in the industrial city of Lens, Pas-de-Calais, northern France, the Louvre-Lens is a satellite gallery of the Louvre, and one of France’s biggest recent cultural developments. The low rise transparent aluminium and glass design, distantly reminiscent of the two outstretched wings of the Louvre in Paris, is designed by Japanese architects SANAA, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, Japan; with associated architects Imrey-Culbert, Célia Imrey and Tim Culbert, New York / Paris – co-author for the building and Museographer for the project; and landscape architects Mosbach Paysagistes, Catherine Mosbach, Paris. The €150 million project is a musée-parc. The ethereal quality of the brushed aluminum and glass façade will create blurred reflections of the landscape. Louvre-Lens is set in 20 hectares of parkland reclaimed and landscaped on the site of coal-mines that closed in 1960, and consists of a series of five buildings occupying a total surface area of 28,000m2 on a 20 hectare site. The cultural space occupies 7,000m2 of galleries in four rectangular galleries, plus storage and administration spaces. The two eastern pavilions are the principal exhibition halls, Galerie du Temps (Gallery of Time), a 120-metre long temporary exhibition gallery with a rotating chronological presentation – regardless of styles and places of origin – of 205 major works from the Louvre collection, and an exhibition Renaissance, Révolutions dans les arts en Europe 1400-1530. The central pavilion, houses the main reception area with multimedia library, museum store and cafeteria. A storage gallery, allows visitors to see the museum’s reserve holdings of around 900 works from the 4th millennium BC to the mid-19th century. At the western end of the Louvre-Lens gallery complex a 300-seat auditorium, La Scène, will host conferences, screenings and live shows and features a commission of 200m2 floor mosaics by Japanese artist and sculptor Yayoi Kusama
A further Louvre satellite gallery, Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel is planned to open in 2014.
SANAA: Notable buildings include: Christian Dior Building, Omotesando, Tokyo, 2003; The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan, 2004, won the Golden Lion in 2004 at the Ninth International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale; Rolex Learning Center, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2010; Glass Pavilion, Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, 2006; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, 2007; Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London, 2009. Sejima and Nishizawa were awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2010.
Imrey Culbert is a design atelier based in New York and Paris, with a focus on museum and gallery design. The firm’s work combines technical expertise with a vested interest in the public and social aspects of the spaces we create
Louvre-Lens, 10 am – 6 pm, closed on Tuesdays. Entry free until the end of 2013, except temporary exhibitions.