The Bibliothèque nationale de France has given its architect Dominique Perrault ‘carte blanche’ to develop an exhibition dedicated to the building he designed in 1989 : with an original ‘mise en abyme’, a large-scale scenography presents the story of the conception and construction of the BnF, one of the most important contemporary public buildings in France. “I wish to be launched the construction and fitting-out of the – or one of the – biggest libraries in the world, of a completely new type.” announced François Mitterrand, the then President of the French Republic on July 14th 1988. In 1989, architect Dominique Perrault, aged only 36, was the winner of the international competition. After the Grand Louvre, the Opéra Bastille or the Institut du monde arabe, this new project located outside of Paris historical districts completed the policy of large public works projects led during the two seven-year terms of François Mitterrand. The architect’s mission was to create ‘a symbolic place for Paris and a library for France’, a place open to all, which is both a public area for passing through and the beginning of an initiatory journey.
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