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Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes

Will Scott

A Palais with a contemporary soul: the transformation of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes.

Will Scott returns on The Architecture Player with a new video, filmed inside (and outside) the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes, one of the six largest Fine Art Museums outside Paris, alongside Lyon, Grenoble, Montpellier, Rouen, and Lille. The museum was recently interested in a transformation and extension project, carried by Stanton Williams Architects, winner in 2009 of an international competition.  
Stanton Williams Architects was also commissioned to design interior of the buildings that make up the new museum and the landscaping for the streets and public squares adjacent to the museum complex. In collaboration with graphic design studio Cartlidge Levine, the team designed the graphic identity and signage for the museum, which can be seen in the first seconds of the video.

For this major scale project, Stanton Williams Architects decided to create an 'urban quarter' that would incorporate several key extension buildings that link the 19th Century quadrangle "Palais" of the museum with the 17th Century Oratory Chapel on the site. This buildings operate as a temporary art installation space and are now accessible directly from the main part of the museum for the first time.
The existing historical "Palais" building has been comprehensively renovated, and a new "Cube" extension has been built to accommodate additional exhibition spaces for contemporary art across four levels of galleries. 

The transformation and its urban scale are the major focal point of the video directed by Will Scott, which presents the museum in its integrity and yet its variety, highlighting Stanton Williams Architects' design strategy to effortlessly merge the past with the present, offering a blend of an architectural and cultural promenade that takes full advantage of its intricate setting. 
For example, we enter in what looks like a typical (yet amazing) "Palais" to find ourselves inside a mesmerizing contemporary art installation, that transforms one of the extensions in a cloister in which experiencing forms of art new to this kind of antique building.

However, Will Scott does something more than just filming the space: he let us experiencing the new interior design and set-up for the museum and its collection. Visitors - both tourists and citizens - are free to wander through these rooms, pausing to look at the art masterpieces, enjoying the structure of the building itself, with its large marble stairs and high ceilings. The inner courtyard, the lighting, and the glass façade make this museum experience a relaxing and enjoyable one. The color palette chosen by Stanton Williams Architects is remarkable, adding sophistication to the ensemble.

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)


Architect: Stanton Williams Architects
Mentioned project: Architect: Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes
Project location: Nantes, France
Additional imagery: Ben Hay, Susanna Fritscher, Hufton & Crow

France 2019
Duration: 3'05"