This time, it is really happening! The cultural and artistic project on the upstream tip of Seguin Island at Boulogne-Billancourt was officially launched on Monday in the company of the Mayor, Pierre-Christophe Baguet, and the President of Emerige, Laurent Dumas. The property development group, which is a frequent art patron, has picked up the project and has decided to see it through.
It should be said that the symbolic location, which until 1992 was home to the Renault factories, has inspired a number of cultural projects that were nipped in the bud. You may remember that François Pinault dreamed of installing his art foundation there in the early 20002, before he switched to Venice. Next there was the idea of the “Cité des Savoirs”, or City of Knowledge, which planned to set up in the former factory an establishment similar to the La Villette Cité des Sciences, the science complex on the North-East of Paris. Several years later, the project was taken over by Yves Bouvier, with his R4 art city. However, Bouvier was soon caught up in legal battles and had to throw in the towel soon after.
The Emerige group picked up the project in 2016 and is determined to make it a key cultural destination in the Parisian region. We now know more about the new cultural hub. It will feature an interdisciplinary art centre, a multiplex, and a hotel chock-full of artworks. The structure designed by Jean Nouvel will be taken over by Catalan architects RCR Arquitectes, who built the Soulages museum in Rodez. RCR have designed the art centre like a hand that “offers, collects, is outstretched, and points”. Austrian agency Baumschlager Eberle will design the hotel.
An intergenerational, and intercultural program
The artistic programming will be handled by Jérôme Sans, co-founder and former director of the Palais de Tokyo. Sans wants to explore the way in which “today’s art dialogues will all creative spheres” and promises an “ambitious, plural, intergenerational, and intercultural, program”. More concretely, the press release talks about exhibitions around “emblematic collections and foundations”, notably those of Laurent Dumas and Renault (who first inhabited the space), and partnerships with the Fondation Giacometti and the Fondation Gandur pour l’art.
The Mayor of Boulogne-Billancourt explained that the new cultural destination in the greater Paris region was a symbol of “a transformation, a pathway between the past and the future”. He expressed his desire to design a place as a “response to the afflictions of our time”. See you there in 2021!