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Musée Dobrée

Nantes - France

A museum in a mansion, where the visitor is invited: such is the exhibition design and interpretation planning concept of the Dobrée Museum in its Palace. The intimate spirit of the place is a synthesis between a contemporary exhibition design enhanced by numerous tools for mediating with the most diverse audiences, and references to the history of this home of art collectors from the end of the 19th century.

Stakes of the project


The Dobree Museum is a museum of collectors and territories, anchored in the city of Nantes, its region and the distant lands travelled by the two shipowners, Dobrée father and son. The palace, designed by Thomas Dobrée, a great lover of art from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, is the showcase that today houses both his collections and those of regional archaeology. The exhibition design is in keeping with the spirit of the architectural and interpretation planning.

The museum is in the heart of Nantes, it is composed of three buildings, located in a large garden, and which house different functions:

– the Palais Dobrée, which houses the permanent exhibitions;

– the Manor House where the temporary exhibition spaces are located;

– the Voltaire building which houses the new reception and administration.

The interpretation planning reveals the dimension of the collector that Thomas Dobrée was in a contemporary writing that stages the collections in harmony with the volumes of the rooms, the flows, the light, as well as the relations with the various sensitive, experimental and intellectual approaches of the public. The collections have their own identity, giving a special character to the rooms where they are exhibited.

The exhibition design highlights the objects and their relationship with the history of the territory, of the Dobrée family and their singularity, sometimes according to an aesthetic of accumulation and proximity of the collections, in the manner of a collector’s interior, sometimes in an approach of original aesthetics through exhibition design surprises that punctuate the journey and create stylistic breaks.

It is designed to accompany the architecture of the Palace and its strong link with the surrounding garden. Tables underline the windows, real sharing spaces open onto the garden, they group together educational texts, mediation stations and multimedia tools, which allows the collections to be displayed again without modifying the infrastructures. Carpentry spandrels echo the aesthetics of the Palace’s bourgeois salons. They run through each room and are used for interpretation planning and to create a technical area.

Project manager: Margaux Geib-Lapinte

Dobree museum website

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    Architects : Atelier Novembre

    Heritage architect : Philippe Donjerkovic

    Exhibition Design : Studio Adeline Rispal

    Landscape : Moabi

    Engineering office for all trades- Economist : OTEIS - ISA TEG

    Lighting design : Temeloy

    Graphism / Signage : Chevalvert

    Multimedia design and engineering : InnoVision

    Fire safety / accessibility preventionist : Tessibat