The Cité du Vitrail is not a typical museum. It is intended as a starting point for visitors to discover the art of stained glass before venturing out to admire stunning examples in some 350 religious and civic buildings across the Aube region. The Cité du Vitrail considers these stained glass works to be part of its extra muros collection.
An experience for everyone
Stained glass works are sometimes seen as inaccessible. Our challenge was therefore to spark the curiosity of as many visitors as possible while unlocking the keys to understanding this lesser-known art.
By removing the works from their original architecture and placing them at eye level, we were able to offer visitors a unique physical and intellectual appreciation of this art of light. The experience was focused on emotions and the senses, immersing visitors in the fascinating and surprising world of stained glass.
The Cité du Vitrail’s mission is to dust off the image of stained glass works, making them accessible, literally, by placing them at eye level
A colourful immersion
In developing our scenography, we sought to fully reveal the beauty of stained glass works. Our minimalist design blends with the heritage building, highlighting the elegance of the original works on display, as well as their distinct styles, techniques and unique histories. One of our goals was to elicit an emotional aesthetic response in a discreet, simple and atemporal manner.
The furniture was inspired by emblematic elements from a master glassmaker’s studio, such as large work surfaces, shelves and metallic structures. The design for the stained glass gallery is modular and can be adapted to facilitate circulation according to the institution’s artistic programming.
Adjusting lighting atmospheres
The visitor journey features light environments ranging from dark to very bright. The light sources were calibrated to bring out all the nuances and variations in the glass and coloured motifs. We successfully met this scenographic challenge, thanks to our collaboration with the lighting design firm 8’18”.
Keys to understanding simply
We created accessible content to appeal to a broad range of visitors. The interpretation panels may be read on several levels and are designed to offer moments of pleasure and contemplation. We opted for a monochromatic graphic design to truly showcase the iconography and colours of the stained glass works, and to harmoniously blend all the elements in the space.
We paid particular attention to the signage to facilitate the journey, which is unusual in that visitors start on the third floor and move down to the Hôtel-Dieu-le-Comte chapel on the first floor. Our artistic design reflects the bright colours of the Cité du Vitrail’s visual identity along with a black metallic finish to blend with the building.
The value of cultural heritage
The Cité du Vitrail is positioning itself as a centre of scientific and cultural excellence. It aims to establish a network of workshops, sites and monuments housing stained glass works throughout the Aube and Champagne regions, and in France and Europe. The GSM team is proud to have participated in this prestige heritage project, a key driver of local tourism and development.
The multidisciplinary design studio GSM Project worked with the Cité du Vitrail team to create a unique, human-centred experience that allows visitors to appreciate the beauty and complexity of stained glass works and to see this fascinating art in a whole new light.