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Musée National de la Marine

Paris - France

The Musée de la Marine, a place that embodies the memory and future of all maritime adventures. Like a quay on the edge of the sea. A visitor experience conceived as an embarkation.


Born from the collection of “models” offered to Louis XV by the botanist and naval constructor Henri Louis Duhamel du Montceau, the current National Maritime Museum of Paris is one of the oldest of its kind in the world. Located in the Passy wing of the Palais de Chaillot since 1943, it is unquestionably, in the minds of sailors, a temple housing treasures of world-renowned collections.

While maritime culture still remains a distant domain, unfamiliar to Parisians and generally to the majority of French people who live far from the coasts, it remains true that the sea today concerns, all too often unknowingly, the largest number of our contemporaries.

Not only is the maritime world a bearer of multifaceted heritage memory (history, legends, conflicts, industry, shipyards, sports, commerce, transportation, leisure, etc.), but it is also associated – now more than ever – with multiple future challenges for us, inhabitants of the Earth (health, environment, climate, energy, etc.).


The men and women who have ventured into it, whether out of curiosity, their professions, or their exploits, know all too well… and it is they, the seafarers, who are best placed to sensitize us to it!

Consequently, our scenographic project unfolds as follows:

  • A “Global design” approach from the artistic and technical conception phase of the project, to optimize the well-being of the collections, visitors, and staff.
  • The semi-permanent route is arranged in a loop to optimize the permeability between the exhibition and mediation through three main themes developed in Galleries 1, 2, and 3, and four specific collections arranged in Studios A, B, C, and D.
  • The scenographic project takes advantage of the architecture of the spaces by deploying itself on two scales: the sea and the port. The tall heights open onto vast maritime horizons, while the walkway space is organized like a protective port with its contrasting atmospheres, crowds, cabinets of wonders, shops, and pauses…
  • Mediation is at the heart of the scenographic project: the sensitive mediation that resonates the maritime universe within us, and the cognitive mediation of tables, furniture, and interactive devices that attract through their graphic and multimedia treatment and the comfort of their ergonomics.
  • The fluidity of flows has been given special attention, especially regarding the organization of spaces, intentionally flexible and functional, the calibration of multimedia devices, interactive manipulations, signage layouts, etc.
  • The design of furniture and equipment for the route is intentionally streamlined, reflecting the museum’s renovation project and inspired by naval architecture, especially in Galleries 1 and 2.
  • Signage fully participates in the scenography by playing with maritime signage codes (lighthouses, beacons, limnometric marks, nautical buoys) and variations in scale and height as in the port environment.
  • The scenographic lighting is finely adjusted to enhance the atmosphere and ambiance of each space. Always discreet but extremely precise, it favors the relationship between architecture, collections, and visitor experience. Thus, for example, daylight is filtered to preserve the collections, but it often remains present, as at sea, to feel the daily and seasonal variations.
  • Multimedia Sound Signature Without being systematic, multimedia is always at the service of sensitive mediation regardless of the spaces and devices. Its contribution is therefore very differentiated between Galleries 1, 2, and 3, and Studios A, B, C, and D. It should be noted that here, the maritime universe appeals as much to the eye as to the ear!
  • A sustainable approach in terms of environmental, economic, and social aspects Our scenographic approach is deliberately placed in the context of a global ecological transition to satisfy both the cultural and social stakes of the project and an environmental and economic strategic ambition. This translation is therefore visible in both the choices of infrastructures and scenographic devices (furniture, materials, lighting, ventilation, etc…) and in the operation and maintenance of equipment (lighting and multimedia), ease of collection renewal, and space flexibility… Finally, considering the societal and social challenges of the museum, we propose that Gallery 1, intended to provide keys to future issues (formerly Gallery 2: Maritime Economy, consumption routes) be duty-free to reach as many visitors as possible. It is deliberately located at the beginning of the route. This space could also host major events such as major maritime races broadcast live on the big screen to attract new audiences to maritime issues.

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    Architect and exhibition designer, leading firm : Ateliers Adeline Rispal

    Architect : h2o architectes

    Lighting : Les Éclaireurs

    Multimedia engineering : InnoVision

    Signage : Change is good

    Engineering office for structure : Equilibre structures

    Acoustics : Impedance ingénierie

    Engineering Office for Design and Construction, operation and maintenance : IGREC ingénierie

    Construction Economics : VPEAS