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« Open UNESCO » Permanent exhibition - UNESCO Headquarters

Paris - France

The scenographic concept highlights the extent and diversity of UNESCO’s actions.

A unique encounter between this great institution, known and recognised, whose actions are so vast that they are not perceived by everyone, and the visitors who come to discover it.

It is a design of proximity that invites to travel, putting in scene witnesses who illustrate and animate the places.

Stakes of the project


The original mission “Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women” will find its full meaning in the exhibition.

OPEN UNESCO will look outwards – to the world for which UNESCO works – and, above all, to unfamiliar audiences. As the notion of openness corresponds to that of proximity, the actions carried out by Headquarters, field offices, institutes and other stakeholders will be presented, as much as possible, through concrete and personified examples.

OPEN UNESCO will be conceived in symbiosis with the architecture of the building and the works of art exhibited there.

A modern scenography will be proposed. It will be open, with elements that are both didactic and playful and that capture the public’s attention. These will be easily remembered and will generate sympathy, including interactive elements that engage children. The use of new technologies will allow the content of the exhibition to be constantly updated in line with UNESCO’s changing priorities and programmes.

General Conference

The exhibition will be held in the Hall Ségur. It will be “nomadic” so that it can be moved around easily.

In addition to the exhibition itself, and in order to meet the specific needs of the General Conference, the scenography will include elements of mini-conferences (three) where participants will be able to sit, watch videos/presentations and debate (about 20 people).

Nomadic islands

They express the scope and diversity of UNESCO’s action around the world.

They meet the requirements of mobility and phasing of the exhibition.

They can be progressively enriched and updated.

Major players”:

UNESCO is you!

The “key players” are the mediators of UNESCO’s action in the field.

Sitting, listening, talking, or standing in action, they are the totems of each block, which gives them a certain autonomy and allows them to be isolated in one space or another of the building.

Even on its own (e.g. on the 7th floor), the island is identifiable with the exhibition as a whole.

The large actors crystallise and unify the expression of the islands.

Their size expresses

o the grandeur of UNESCO’s ideals,

o the power of the collective.

Their very human aspect brings us together.

Their youth expresses the capacity for action, the generosity of their ideals.

The cultural diversity of the actors is expressed in their hyper-realistic physiognomy and in the colours of the solar spectrum that link them to the floors, which are themselves coloured, and thus to their territory of action.

Their presence creates a strong landscape that adapts to both the powerful architecture of the Ségur hall and the atony of the Miro hall, while respecting both works.

Architectural integration :

The islands fit perfectly into the architecture of the Ségur hall. They constitute convivial lounges in which the participants in the General Conference can meet in small groups.

4.5 The islands

Each island consists of the following elements

a coloured carpet to make the space more intimate (and to integrate flat wiring for the equipment),
40 cm high benches and footstools,
60 cm high mediation and object supports (also integrating the servers of the multimedia devices),
multimedia screens of different sizes according to needs:
large screens (55”) with no touch screen (testimonies, reports, collective mediation),
thematic consultation screens (22”),
55” touch table (geographical location of actions in the world)
Ipad, Iphone for contact with the major players and the games proposed…
Block 1 (UNESCO and UN) is equipped with a very large screen (70”) oriented vertically to receive the Director-General’s welcome message.

Visitors are invited to sit down and take their time in these welcoming lounges to get in touch with the major players and information on her action and that of UNESCO’s partners.

The themes of the blocks are indicated by their titles in white letters on the building’s posts.

4.6 Mediation by the major players


The exhibition evokes the presence of men and women involved in the various actions carried out by UNESCO throughout the world. These witnesses welcome visitors to pass on their experience in the field through the mediation of their work tools. The visitor is invited to use these tools to discover documents, testimonies and moments of life evoking a concrete action in the cultural, environmental or social field.

It is a real encounter with a UNESCO actor that is staged, centred on a sharing of experience and outlining a post-visit relationship through social networks.

Two modes of visit are proposed, a discovery mode and a fun mode aimed at school audiences. During the latter, visitors are given a mission to accomplish with their mobile terminal: they collect content from different actors to compose thematic or geographic series that give them access to bonuses.

Discovery tour

The visitor navigates freely from island to island to meet the actors ready to welcome him. Each actor communicates via a Smartphone, a laptop, an interactive screen or an iPad. The visitor will discover a welcome message in the form of a testimonial. At the end of the message, the host invites the visitor to discover the other content available to understand and raise awareness about his or her mission within UNESCO: videos, documents, blogs, etc.

Fun tour

This type of visit is intended in particular for school groups. The tour is carried out using a mobile terminal or a game book. The visitor collects elements available on the different islands to form series related to the themes. When a series is complete, the visitor obtains a code allowing him to unlock content related to the completed theme.

Quizzes are also offered at different stages of the tour. If successful, new content is unlocked allowing to complete a collection or to go deeper into a theme.

The proposed themes:

UNESCO’s 9 fields of action: Post-disaster situations, Knowledge exchange, Cultural diversity…
The 6 professions: Communication, Natural sciences …
The 8 goals: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, Achieve universal primary education…
The 12 regions of the world
The 9 actors met on the islands

The mobile

The mobile version of the game allows you to collect the elements consulted and to complete the collections. The visitor also receives a request from UNESCO to become a friend on Facebook and thus follow the evolution of the actions of the different actors in the field.


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    Interpretive planning, commissioned architects : Repérages - Adeline Rispal

    Restoration architect : Conny Lentz (Luxembourg)

    Engineering office for structure : Gehl, Jacoby & Ass (Luxembourg)

    Engineering office for air conditioning, ventilation and heating / Electricity : Goblet & Lavandier (Luxembourg)