After 25 years of service, it came time for the Musée Picasso to renovate its buildings and technical facilities and redefine its relationship with the space in the Hôtel Salé. Stage one, following the Ministry of Culture and Communication’s decision to renovate the façades, the exterior decoration and the surrounding wall, took place between 2006 and 2009. This operation was effective in saving the important sculptural pieces of the building’s mouldings and pediments. The restoration, renovation and extension project launched in 2009 was far more extensive than the preceding work in terms of both objectives and cost. The aim was to raise the building to the standards imposed by the new regulations in force, thus ensuring the safety and security of the collections and the general public, and to completely restructure the museum.
The entire renovation involved a number of operations. The interior restoration was a large-scale undertaking designed to return the Hôtel Salé to its original lustre. The first priority was the 17th century building which entailed restoring the decoration in the hall and on and around the central stairway; remodelling and repaving the main courtyard; renovating the door frames and windows; restoring the terrace flanking the Communs building (outbuildings); repairing the roofs, and enhancing the space around the main staircase. The renovations carried out by Roland Simounet were also restored. The administrative departments were relocated to a neighbouring building, which freed up new spaces to display the collections. On completion of the current renovation project, the exhibition space dedicated to the permanent collections and visitors services will be extended to the entire building, covering a total 5,700 m².
The restructuring will create new ways to explore the collection
and, more broadly, an enhanced experience for visitors to the museum. How and where visitors move around has also been replanned. Visitors are now welcomed into the “Communs” building which, in addition to a comfortable entrance hall, also houses various services and spaces spread over the groundfloor and basement. Architectural agency Bodin et Associés were commissioned to carry out the major construction work in this section of the building. The operation planned to restore the volumes of space in the 17th century building, notably regarding the geometry and visual configuration of the rear courtyard. The Pavillon des Anciennes Ecuries building and the terrace overlooking the main courtyard will now be part of the museum visit. The renovated and enlarged spaces dug out under the rear courtyard will be used exclusively for visitor amenities and will feature a reception and facilitation space, the ticket office, a hall, a documentation centre, a summer and winter café, a gift and book shop, cloakrooms and toilets.
The technical building running the length of the gardens has been reconverted into a modular auditorium serving as a multimedia room where education activities will be provided. The renovation was also an opportunity to install areas required to manage the collection (transit area, museum workshop, logistics services) and museum staff (rest room and kitchen, toilets and cloakrooms). The garden and the planted terrace were also renovated and redesigned.
In the main building, the museum visit has been modified. A horizontal series of 17th century decorative elements can be seen on the façade, in the garden and in the main courtyard. The exhibition is laid out over five floors (basement, ground floor and three upper floors). Movement from floor to floor is provided by the various restored staircases (main central staircase and the stairways introduced by Roland Simounet), the ramp installed by Roland Simounet and the two refurbished lifts in the north and south pavilions.
These various constructions connect the new spaces freed up by relocating the administrative departments and technical facilities to the renovated exhibition rooms displaying the collections.
Since parts of the Hôtel Salé building are listed as Historic Monuments, the renovation work on the classified sections (façades, external joinery, main courtyard and stairway, the panelled room) was placed under the responsibility of Stéphane Thouin, Chief Architect for Historic Monuments. The interior refurbishments to the main building and the outbuildings, the technical wing and the garden were contracted to Jean-François Bodin & Associés, an architectural firm, selected on the basis of its references, skills and resources from a consultation process carried out by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication between December 2008 and April 2009.
Building firm Pradeau & Morin was awarded the construction contract following a global tender launched in July and an additional tender launched in February 2013.