One of Paris' great cultural landmarks, the Centre Pompidou, has opened a satellite museum in Shanghai.

Aerial view at sunset of Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum Project in Shanghai
Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum Project in Shanghai opened 8 November ©AKI/Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou, popularly known as Beaubourg and officially as the Musée National d'Art Moderne, launched its first museum outside of Europe on 8 November. The Shanghai branch is the museum's third outpost outside of Paris, with a branch in Metz, France and another one in the Spanish city of Málaga.

People looking out at the Huangpu river from the West Bund museum's esplanade
The West Bund Museum sits on the northern bank of the Huangpu River © Simon Menges

Situated along the banks of the Huangpu River, the museum occupies a space in the newly built West Bund Art Hub, named after the state-owned corporation that is responsible for transforming the former industrial area into Shanghai's cultural hotspot filled with museums and galleries. Known as 'Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum Project," the museum occupies 27,000 sq ft and is designed by the British architect David Chipperfield.

The West Bund museum's foyer, with high ceilings, columns, and plenty of light
​​​​​​According to Libin Chen, partner, David Chipperfield Architects Shanghai, the ground floor was conceived as a public thoroughfare, which "[contributes] to the idea that modern museums are more than just a destination for viewing art." © Simon Menges

"The design of the West Bund Museum responds to the openness of the site as well as the surrounding development of a new cultural corridor along West Bund," Chipperfield said in a statement. "The willful act of twisting the three main exhibition halls breaks the conventional geometry and creates powerful interstitial public spaces. A wide esplanade opens onto the waterside promenade, offering an outdoor space for use by everyone."

The upper gallery of the West Bund museum, with floor-to-ceiling columns and windows on the left and installations on the right
The museum's exhibition spaces are brightened with natural light © Simon Menges

The building's three main galleries will host exhibitions from the Centre Pompidou, including three semi-permanent exhibitions in five years and two temporary exhibitions per year. One of the first exhibitions is 'The Shape of Time,' which features 100 works from artists like Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Zhang Huan and Cristina Iglesias.

Multi-media installations will be displayed in an area known as 'The Box', while 'Gallery O', Will house in situ projects by emerging artists. An auditorium will host conferences, screenings, concerts and performances and there will be a space reserved for mediation activities, a playground for very young audiences and workshops.

Balloon artwork from Thomas Lanfranchi
Work from French artist Thomas Lanfranchi will be exhibited in the Shanghai museum ©Christophe Doucet/Centre Pompidou

The Shanghai Pompidou is part of a continuing cultural collaboration between France and China which will last until 2025. Within the cultural exchange, the Centre Pompidou will also have a chance to feature Chinese contemporary art at its home in Paris.

"The Centre Pompidou has always been committed to showcasing the vitality of the Chinese art scene, Serge Lasvignes. president of the Centre Pompidou said in a statement. "This establishment in Shanghai will further strengthen our ties and certainly foster new dialogues between the artists and cultural institutions of both countries."

Installation by Interchange Studio Anne Denastas and Selina Konig
An upcoming installation from Interchange Studio Anne Denastas and Selina Konig ©Interchange Studio Anne Denastas and Selina Konig/Centre Pompidou

The Pompidou recently announced plans to open an "art factory" in the southern Parisian suburbs in 2025 and a museum in Brussels by 2020.

This article was originally published on 7 November, 2019 and updated on 16 January, 2020. 

This article was first published Nov 8, 2019 and updated Jan 17, 2020.

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