I M Pei’s Pyramid at the Musée du Louvre has more than proved its value. Opened in 1989 for planned visitor numbers of 4 million per annum, it now has to cope with almost 10 million though it struggles to do so, while the main courtyard area provides an important public space for Paris during day and night. The Pyramid is now in need of refurbishment to improve the visitor experience, to manage the queues of visitors and improve its logic by bringing together facilities such as ticket offices which are currently at several locations. In doing so, the Museum aims to restore the architectural integrity of the Pyramid space and address noise and overheating issues which result from the sheer volume of people.
Two information desks will be provided, a new dedicated ticketing area will be created, self-service luggage areas and toilet provision will be increased, plus there will spaces for guided tours and for rest and picnic areas. Signage will be improved and retail spaces, presently scattered throughout the museum, will be grouped together on either side of the Allée du Grand Louvre.
Beyond the Pyramid space, the visitor’s experience will be improved with new trilingual room signage and bilingual labels across the museum and through an interpretation centre where, in addition to learning about the Louvre, its collections and its modern-day activities, visitors will be able to choose from a selection of themed itineraries.
In its day the Pyramid was an inspired grand project and this refurbishment, which will continue over the new couple of years while the museum remains open, will help the museum deal with the huge and increasing number of annual visitors. Hopefully, the fountains around the Pyramid will also be restored. Will it help visitors see the Mona Lisa, however?
Project photographs © Agence Search