h2o architects’ philological renovation of MAM

h2o architects,


Public Buildings, Museums, Architecture and Culture,



The interior renovation of the Modern Art Museum in Paris connects the artworks with outdoor spaces via a big new hall

h2o architects’ philological renovation of MAM 
MAM (Modern Art Museum) is a building constructed in the nineteen-thirties that has undergone a philological restoration of its interiors and furnishings.
It is some time now since an architectural studio designed not only the structures and spaces but the furnishings, especially in a renovation project.
h2o architects of France renovated the interiors of MAM to achieve a result worth of an early twentieth-century Modernist building.
Research into original materials and the mineral continuity of the place proceeded hand in hand with formal study of the furnishings for the various spaces. And the result, achieved in partnership with Studio GGSV, is a contemporary version of Rationalist style that has nothing to envy the original version.
In fact, baring the concrete to restore it down to the most hidden parts and cover it with materials similar to the travertine used in 1937, the year in which the museum opened, was a decisive step in giving the project its philological historical continuity. But technical systems had to be scaled-up and positioned appropriately to offer the public the comforts we have come to expect today. This made material reconstruction of every little corner of the museum the most difficult task for the architects, but also the one that gave them the greatest satisfaction, as capable of capturing the essence of the spirit of the place. All this is the result of a special focus on definition of the style of the new furnishings, with their monolithic, elegant, simple appearance. In other words, they present a formal idiom that makes them look as if they had come to the museum directly from the last century. And in fact the designers nicknamed them “mobilier fantôme”, ghost furniture, for their great ability to blend in with their surroundings.
Lastly, the light fixtures, made entirely by hand to the designers’ plans, fulfil their leading role in a project of great stylistic value that never goes far enough to become provocative.

Fabrizio Orsini

The Directorate of Public Construction, Heritage and Architecture of the City of Paris is the client for the refurbishment of the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, delivered in September 2019. This institution is part of the network of the fourteen Paris Musées museums.
Client / Contracting owner
City of Paris – Directorate of Public Construction, Heritage and Architecture, Paris Musées,
Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris
Supervision unit: Alpha Contrôle
Health and safety coordination: IPCS.
Design and project management team Architect: h2o architectes;
Furnishings design: Studio GGSV
Structural consultants: Équilibre structure


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