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Scalable bookstore at the Center Pompidou

Redesigned by studio 5.5, the exhibition library is getting a makeover. While respecting the codes of the particular architecture of the Center Pompidou.

Les étagères remplies de couleurs. © 2021 Librairie Centre Pompidou - Design par le studio 5.5

Fluid course and flexibility

Access to the bookstore and exhibitions located on the 6th and last floor of the Center Pompidou, via the recently renovated caterpillar, gradually allows you to discover the remarkable view over the Parisian rooftops. This route, which also provides access to the permanent collections and the library, greatly contributes to the success and enthusiasm of visiting this emblematic cultural site. The Rmn-Grand-Palais, a new concessionaire, and the collective studio 5.5 worked together to redevelop the exhibition library in the continuity of the iconic building by Renzo Piano, inaugurated in 1977.

The project matured during the period of containment. In three weeks of design and three months of work, we have defined an identity that is both flexible and anchored in the architecture of the Center Pompidou. »Explains Anthony Lebossé, project manager. Attached to the institution, – some of their pieces now belong to the museum’s permanent collections – the 5.5s play collectively, assuming not only their affinity for the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp but also their methodical decryption of the specifications. They re-opened access to the terraces by removing the curtains, freed up the space and gained fluidity in a new configuration imposed by the entrances to the two current exhibitions.

La bibliothèque du centre Pompidou. © 2021 Librairie Centre Pompidou - Design par le studio 5.5

Mobile and multifunction trolleys

Listening to the working habits of the sales team, the collective has relied on the bookstore as a functional living space, which can accommodate up to 200 visitors. ” For us, it was not a question of arriving as a conqueror, and of making another architecture within an architecture. Modularity was essential very quickly; depending on the exhibitions, the content, topical, thematic, derivative products and cardmaking works are changed, etc. The trolley is the basic element of the modular space imagined on the model of those used for transporting the works. Eco-designed, light, manufactured in the same panel thus avoiding losses, it is equipped with shelves, interchangeable displays, all mounted on industrial wheels capable of supporting half a ton of books!

Remember also the clever idea of hanging posters that can be changed according to the exhibitions, on the back of the carts, they are mounted on magnets. Likewise, the lighting gets to the point. ” We decided not to overload the space with additional superfluous lamps, apart from a few spot spots on the ceiling. “. Natural and ambient light is sufficient as the color codes of the Center Pompidou, -blue yellow green-, associated with the functions, are present there. The basic light gray brings unity to the whole and enhances the works.

L'un des chariots mobiles du Centre Pompidou. © 2021 Librairie Centre Pompidou - Design par le studio 5.5

The possibility of redevelopment of the space is inherent in the project, taking into account the future works announced. After the first phase relating to the escalators and the glass panels of the caterpillar, the Center Pompidou will close at the end of 2023 until 2027, for a colossal project of renovation, asbestos removal and upgrading to safety and accessibility standards, as well as the implementation of an energy saving plan. The light and scalable design of the exhibition library supports this; while being easily removable, it will be reinstalled identically in its functions so that this new space is durable.

Anne Swynghedauw