CULTURE | TRAVEL
THE NEW GLASS MUSEUM IN FRANCE
Text by Bill Indursky | Images Courtesy of MusVerre
August 24, 2016
Given an architectural program to respect local culture, act as a background for exhibits, show glass throughout, and provide unique areas to express a wide range of glass objects; French architect Raphaël Voinchet and the firm W-Architectures designed a new glass museum that fuses past and present. The result, MusVerre, will open October 1, 2016 in the northern French village of Sars-Poteries. The rural farming town of 1,500, located near the border of Belgium, was once a glass-making center, known to collectors around the world for its studios, artists’ residencies and its glass collections.
To respect the town’s dominant structures, its natural wall-like hedges that dot the rolling meadows, the architect developed a low-lying modern language. The walls and roof of the building are clad throughout with regional blue stone quarried in the Hainaut area. The stone reacts to changing light and lends a unique depth to the outside appearance of the building. The museum appears to extend into the grounds and the surrounding landscape and its windows have been strategically placed to offer visitors a sense of calmness and serenity.
Economically, the museum will breathe life into a region that has greatly suffered from industrial decline. MusVerre presents a new cultural heart for a traditionally decentralized community. The museum’s commitment to the local people and area, and the diversity of its activities, will contribute to the region’s regrowth, and political engagement. It will offer a new trans-border opportunity with nearby Belgium, establish a relaxing, idyllic cultural week-end getaway.
The museum’s 850 piece core collection of glass works span the 19th-century to today. It includes unique sculptural, figurative and abstract, works from artists around the world, including: Japan, USA, Australia and Europe from 1980 to the present day. With the more than 750 other glass works, it will be one of the largest public collections of contemporary glass art in France. The museum will offer artists’ residences to help expand its cultural and international reputation.
Nord department, the museum’s governing body, has ambitions to place culture at the center of redevelopment of rural communities and to provide the best possible showcase for a collection that has become one of Europe’s finest in the world of contemporary glass art.