The architectural project
Creating a setting
The Musée Lalique is set in a quite exceptional landscape. Indeed, it has been built on the very site of a former glassworks, the Hochberg glassworks, which operated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Overseen by the Agence Wilmotte, which manages projects throughout the world, in association with the architects, Chiodetti and Crupi, from Colmar, thirty companies have devoted their skills and expertise to the project. The exhibition design was created in collaboration with Ducks Sceno.
The haute couture of architecture
An international architecture competition was launched in 2004. It was the sketches of Jean-Michel Wilmotte that attracted the attention of the adjudicators and the contract was awarded to him in 2005. Respect for architectural heritage was one of the main criteria for this choice, all the more so to the extent that the site has been listed in the Additional Inventory of Historic Monuments since 1996. Appropriate integration of the new buildings in the landscape was also a decisive argument. The materials selected – concrete dressed with stone and glass – form a harmonious whole with the existing buildings.
The topography of the site is used as one of the major components of the architecture and the new, half-buried buildings present a green roof treated as a landscaped area. They overlook the natural surroundings from an impressive overhanging façade which, from the permanent exhibition space, offers a panoramic view over the valley below. At the heart of the museum is a concealed ornamental garden that the visitor discovers as he moves along the museum's walkways, which link the old buildings to the new construction, forming a kind of cloister. The building is enhanced by nature and nature is revealed by the building.
Respecting and enhancing the landscape and the original architecture, the project manager was no less keen on incorporating all the functions essential to a museum created at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Apart from the permanent and temporary exhibition spaces and the storage areas, it also has an 85-seat auditorium, a shop, a refreshment area, educational workshops, etc.
The Agence Wilmotte
It operates in five basic fields – architecture, interior architecture, museum design, town planning and design – with an attention to detail that allows it to work on the smallest to the largest scale. As far as museums are concerned, it worked on the Louvre Museum in 1999, designing the Department of Primitive Art, and the Pavillon des Sessions in 2000. The Agence Wilmotte was also entrusted with the design of the Hennessy Museum in Cognac (1996), the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyons (1991-1998), the Museum of Fashion in Marseilles (1993), the National Centre of Stage Costume in Moulins (2006), the Museum of Art and Industry in Saint-Etienne (2001) and the President Jacques Chirac Museum in Sarran (2000). Overseas, it has worked, among others, on the National Museum in Beirut (1999), the Chiado National Museum in Lisbon (1994), and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha (2008). Among the projects in progress, we should mention the Book of Peace in Jerusalem, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the reworking of the Musée d’Orsay.