Lens, France

Louvre in the north

The opening of the Louvre-Lens in December 2012 at a former mining site in northern France caused a great stir. With 900,000 visitors in its first year, the gamble on attractiveness has been more than won. The glass-and-steel casing, whose designers, Sanaa, describe as “simple but not harsh,” won the Japanese studio the Équerre d’argent.

It is this beautifully simple spirit that led to USM being chosen for the museum shop and restaurant. “USM furniture matched our specifications for the shop in terms of its fluidity, lightness, modularity, and the glass and steel echo the building’s structure,” says Catherine Ferrar, the Louvre-Lens’ general manager. USM’s modularity is a major advantage in this space, where everything changes from one season to the next to accommodate new products and furniture layouts.

Not far from the shop is the culinary art featured at L’Atelier de Marc Meurin. To accompany the choreography of plates, chef Marc Meurin was looking for a sideboard that was just as stylish as it was functional. His exchanges with USM gave rise to a piece of furniture accessible on all four sides, extremely convenient for service. On a visual level, its clearly defined structure and bold yellow color create a unique aesthetic that personalizes the space. From the shop to the restaurant, these two dimensions of a single project reveal the intelligence of furniture that has the ability of combining design with function.

Architects: SANAA/Imrey Culbert
Photographer: Christophe Glaudel

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