This eye-catching museum overlooking the Seine was built by star architect Jean Nouvel to house the state-owned collection of "non-Western" art, culled from the Musée National des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie and the Musée de l'Homme. Exhibits mix artifacts from antiquity to the modern age, such as funeral masks from Melanesia, Siberian shaman drums, Indonesian textiles, and African statuary. A corkscrew ramp leads from the lobby to a cavernous exhibition space, which is color coded to designate sections from Asia, Africa, and Oceania. The lighting is dim—sometimes too dim to read the information panels (which makes investing in the €5 audioguide a good idea).
Renowned for his bold modern designs, Nouvel has said he wanted the museum to follow no rules; however, many critics gave his vision a thumbs down when it was unveiled in 2006. The exterior resembles a massive rust-color rectangle suspended on stilts, with geometric shapes cantilevered to the facade facing the Seine
and louvered panels on the opposite side. The colors (dark reds, oranges, and yellows) are meant to evoke the tribal art within. A "living wall" comprised of some 150 species of exotic plants grows on the exterior, which is surrounded by a wild jungle garden with swampy patches—an impressive sight after dark when scores of cylindrical colored lights are illuminated. The trendy Les Ombres restaurant on the museum's fifth floor (separate entrance) has premier views of the Tour Eiffel—and prices to match. The budget-conscious can enjoy the garden at Le Café Branly on the ground floor.
Sep 1, 2014
Opened in 2006, the building was designed by Jean Nouvel, its bridge-shaped metal structure recalling the Eiffel Tower. From an architectural point of view, the beautiful 800 m² green wall, which faces the Seine is also impressive. Designed by Patrick Blanc and by the landscape architect Gilles Clément, this garden haven is perfect for taking a break from a museum visit. The museum is dedicated to the arts and civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania
and the Americas (Central and South). There are around 3,500 objects on display (merely one percent of the total collection!), and the exhibits are regularly renewed. Exceptionally rich, the museum’s collections are supplemented by thematic areas addressing different cultural heritages or existential questions raised by different civilizations. The Quai Branly Museum opens its doors to the world and its cultures, so different and so rich, calling for reflection and an understanding for one another. The museum also hosts major international exhibitions.