The Louvre-Lens project — A new experimental and innovative Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum has been a resource for the entire French nation since 1793. The new Louvre Museum in Lens will continue and refresh this tradition in the heart of the former Nord-Pas-de-Calais mining area. During the construction, the Louvre-Lens Project House will showcase the future plans for this avant-garde museum.

Repurposing a former mining area

The Louvre-Lens Museum will be located in the former pithead of Lens, which was closed in 1960 and is now a 20 hectare wasteland at the center of the city. SANAA, a Japan-based agency, won the international competition for the building’s design launched in 2005, with a decidedly contemporary project design. In 2010, SANAA’s co-founders, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, were awarded the Pritzker Prize, often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture.

A bright and refined museum and park

The museographic project is focused on educating the visitors’ eye and teaching about the works of art. It is supported by a bright and refined architectural design that makes the most of natural light. Comprising five interconnected single-story buildings, the museum plays with transparency and lightness to showcase the exhibits and make it easier for the public to interact with them. Designer and scenographer Adrien Gardère is in charge of museography. French landscape architect Catherine Mosbach is designing the 20 hectare park, which will be completely integrated with the project as a fully-fledged part of the facility’s architecture.

A new perspective on the Louvre’s collections and activities

The Louvre-Lens Museum will showcase selections of exhibits from the Louvre collections that were never presented together at the Paris museum. For example, the Time Gallery will provide a unique chronological journey through the history of art using 300 exhibits created over six thousand years. The Louvre-Lens Museum will also host two major exhibitions each year. The storerooms will be made visible and accessible to visitors. From conservation to research, visitors will have the opportunity to discover the various museum activities that contribute to, preserve and promote artistic legacy.