David Chipperfield launches West Bund museum
Centre Pompidou establishes presence in Shanghai
The new West Bund museum designed by David Chipperfield has opened in Shanghai, marking the largest cultural exchange and cooperation project to date between France and China. The 25,000 sq ft building was implemented by a partnership between the Centre Pompidou and West Bund Development Group, a public corporation responsible for creating a new cultural district along the Xuhui waterfront. The five-year agreement planned by the two organisations is based on activities such as the loan of works from the Centre Pompidou collections, the creation of exclusive exhibitions mirroring the local cultural context, and exhibitions by Chinese artists at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
The West Bund project follows exchanges that have taken place between the Centre Pompidou in Spain and Belgium, which place an emphasis on creating links with the host city as well as the opportunity to put on exhibitions abroad. Serge Lasvignes, President of the Centre, stated: “It is important to understand that the Centre Pompidou deployment abroad is based on experimentation. We have developed a unique model for co-construction that factors in the local context as well as partner and visitor expectations. Our aim is not to open up local branches just to put on big exhibitions: we aim to share our savoir-faire, set up unique venues which are all different, but which chime in with our values and all the facets of the Centre Pompidou project.”
Inside the West Bund Museum, three galleries are devoted to the presentation of collections from the Centre Pompidou. Three semi-permanent exhibitions are planned for the next five years, with two temporary exhibitions taking place annually. An area called ‘The Box’ will house multi-media installations, while another room, ‘Gallery 0’, will feature projects by emerging artists. Conferences, screening and performances will take place in an auditorium, while an 800 sq m hall will host mediation activities, including a playground for very young audiences. Libin Chen, Partner, David Chipperfield Architects Shanghai, stated: “The ground floor is designed as a public thoroughfare – with a river-side café and bookstore – allowing visitors to connect between the urban life of the street and the views of the Huangpu River. The public facilities all contribute to the idea that modern museums are more than just a destination for viewing art.”
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