h2o architectes and Snøhetta complete renovation of Musée national de la Marine

The revitalized maritime museum in Paris opened to the public on the 17th of November after six years of restoration.

The ambition behind the renovation was to rethink the organization within the museum’s services by offering visitors and employees a functional environment for work, discovery, and exchange.

The design of the new museum is characterized by curved and circular forms, in keeping with the existing geometry of the building and subtly referencing the natural movement of water. This dynamic architectural movement facilitates circulation and connectivity between spaces and encourages more fluid interaction.

Photos by Maxime Verret for h2o architects and Snøhetta

Musée national de la Marine is the main French institution entirely dedicated to the French maritime history and hosts an important collection of paintings, models and maritime artefacts.

It is located in the historic Palais Chaillot, which was built in 1878 and subsequently restructured by architects Carlu, Boileau and Azéma for the 1937 World’s Fair and is protected by its heritage status. h2o architects and Snøhetta has worked hand in hand in renovating the building by establishing a close dialogue between the building’s successive construction states and a renewed, contemporary vision of the maritime world and its challenges.

A streamlined visitor journey is created by reopening a historic staircase that dates from the original 1878 project, and integrating it into both the temporary and permanent exhibit itineraries. These same spaces are punctually opened to the world outside, in keeping with the twofold aim of reconstituting the volumes of the 1937 design and of anchoring the museum in the surrounding environment.

Museum and exhibition design practice Casson Mann has created an imaginative and accessible visitor experience for the Musée national de la Marine with a vision to bring the sea to Paris.

Snøhetta is honored to have contributed to the reinvention of the iconic Musée National de la Marine and the renewal of its important heritage of France's relationship with the world's oceans, which ultimately connect us all.

Kjetil Trædal Thorsen Founding Partner and Architect, Snøhetta

"The collaboration with h2o architectes and their understanding of French history and built heritage has been a true source of inspiration.

We now look forward to seeing the public make the museum's spaces their own and rediscover the vast collections that the institution houses. This will reaffirm the museum's important role in creating a contemporary perception of history, providing a deeper perspective on the future," Trædal Thorsen continues.

Photo: Maxime Verret for h2o architects and Snøhetta (scenography Casson Mann)