“Nobody wants to invade Marseille” claims Rudy Ricciotti,
architect of the MuCEM.
And yet everyone is flocking there since the Museum of Civilisations
of Europe & of the Mediterranean, dubbed MuCEM, opened its doors just weeks ago, the first national museum to open in the Phocean city, a project 11 years in the making.
Having shot & directed the introductory ad campaign for this new institution, The Stimuleye introduces you to the man who designed it, a man as famous for the fights he picks as the building he designs.
Exclusive photos by René Habermacher.
One side is the Fort Saint-Jean, linked to the city by a pedestrian steel bridge. A fort not unlike the Bastille – a bastion to defend Marseille against itself – the Fort Saint-Jean had been closed to the public for centuries.
On the other, also connected by a massive steel bridge, is Ricciotti’s creation, facing the Mediterranean Sea.
Refusing “architectural bling,” Ricciotti chose to have the new building dematerialize itself to complement the Fort Saint-Jean.
No reflections – leave it to the sea.
The concrete filigree lace of the MuCEM, a second skin like a screen that allows views, light and air to pervade the space. Photography by René Habermacher.
TV spot for the MuCEM's launch, directed by Antoine Asseraf with SayWho and Agence White.
The MuCEM's a porous monolithic body planted on pier J4 in the Mediterranean sea, connected to the Fort Saint-Jean with a 115m long slender pathway made of massive cast iron. Photography by René Habermacher.
Antoine Asseraf: Can you elaborate on your theory of world being split between two sides, matte and shiny ?
Rudy Ricciotti: Shiny is conceptual distance, reason, power and self-assurance.
Matte is frontal narration, intuition, defeat and regret.
Pick your side… I did.
AA: Mediterranean is a concept going beyond “local” but stopping short of “global” — how do you situate yourself, and the building, within that notion ?
RR: The South is a travel certificate, not a birth certificate.
The inhabitants of Munich are more mediterranean than those of Grenoble.
The Valais region in the south of Switzerland more latin than the Vaucluse in the south of France, etc.
The MuCEM is mediterranean through anxiety and existential difficulty.
AA: What is your relationship to monumental architecture ?
RR: You are talking to me, you fucked my wife ?
Top left: "Notre-Dame de la Garde" looming over Marseille and the the seven-level, 40 000 square meter structure of the MuCEM. Photography by René Habermacher.
As massive the volume of the MuCEM may seem at first, it is the use of negative space that gives the building the air of the metaphysical. Photography by René Habermacher
AA: What is the last thing which stimulated you ?
RR: A fish soup made by my partner…
Read my last pamphlet to smile:
« L’Architecture est un sport de combat » [Architecture is a combat sport], edited by Textuel.