The Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris is a private museum, that has been recognised as a public facility since 1901. It is designed to view history through its various collections that showcase design, fashion, fabrics, advertising and graphics, and it is located in an area that includes the Louvre museum and the Tuileries Garden. In particular, the museum is home to an extremely important collection of jewellery with over seven thousand items, ranging from the middle ages up until today.
A wide variety of traditional items are on display featuring gold, silver, enamel and precious stones, but there is also a section of plastic bijouterie that has been popular since the 1960s. Since 2012 the gallery has enjoyed the support of the Van Cleef & Arpels “School of Jewellery Arts”, whose mission is to create and share a love of jewellery, not only at its headquarters in the Place Vendôme, but also through its cultural partners. In 2004 the Swiss architect, Roberto Ostinelli, was commissioned to create the exhibition layout for the Gallery des Bijoux and his design was based on evoking the sensation of entering Ali Baba's cave. In this case the lighting was based on the use of optic fibres that made the jewels gleam. In 2019 the Gallery des Bijoux was refurbished in order to house the Gallery's latest acquisitions and as the optic fibre system could not be updated, a new LED lighting system was installed that also offers significant energy savings.
After a series of tests, iGuzzini luminaires were chosen for the project. A decision that was based partly on experience, as the company's low voltage Palco projectors had already been used by the museum in its temporary exhibition "Tutto Ponti: Gio Ponti archi-designer", held from 19th October 2018 to 5th May 2019. The exhibition design has the same concept as Roberto Ostinelli's initial project. But as this made it impossible to eliminate reflections in the showcase glass, this effect was used to create an original and entertaining game. This involves the jewels being arranged inside the cases as if they are being worn. The visitor’s reflection is then superimposed on this, so it looks as if they are the ones wearing these treasures. According to the Director of the Gallery, Évelyne Possémé, the 4000 K colour temperature chosen is so similar to actual daylight that it highlights the gold and makes both the gems and enamel jewellery gleam.
In January 2020 the collection was presented to the public with the new lighting system that both "declutters" the display rooms thanks to the extremely compact size of the Palco Low Voltage projectors used, and ensures that the impact on the conservation of the items is minimal. The Voyons Voir lighting design has therefore created a magical and dreamlike exhibition design. In a dark environment, the precious beauty of each item is revealed with high precision beams of light that appear to come from nowhere thanks to the miniaturisation of the luminaires. The visitors then walk amongst these jewels under mysterious beams of light as the Laser Blade luminaires are completely concealed in the ceiling.
The new lighting system was also commissioned in view of the museum's 2021 and 2022 programme, which includes two extremely important exhibitions: "Cartier's Orient" (2021) and "The history of jewels and jewellery sets” (2022).
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