French design practice C+D Architecture has recently completed two cultural facilities in the Languedoc Roussillon region. The two restoration projects were made possible with funding from the region and offer very different cultural opportunities for the public.
The Maritime Museum in Sète is located in the former premises of IFREMER, the oceanographic organisation L'Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer. The original building lay derelict for ten years on a listed site, set between a marine theatre and a cemetery.
Now, a bright white form stands in its place, home to a daylit collection of model ships, costumes, musical instruments, ornaments, spears, and other maritime paraphernalia. The pure white exterior is reflected inside, with refined interior volumes bathed in daylight from the generous window panes.
In contrast, the Médard Museum in Lunel is the transformation of an 18th century property which until recently housed the town hall, tourist office and library. Artificial lighting is used throughout this venue and the interior spaces are brought to life with graphics of people, animals and text which have been added to the walls of the exhibition spaces.
The Médard Museum hosts the library of bibliophile Louis Médard, including 5,000 artworks which date to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The space has been designed as a sanctuary where visitors can learn about the history of the collection, and the arts and crafts of the written word.