Signe Chaumont
Le Signe Chaumont. © Sylvia Davis

The first museum in France dedicated to graphic design, Le Signe international graphic design centre opened in October. The city of Chaumont is known for its international poster festival held every summer. The new centre reaffirms the city’s role in the development of graphic design with a state-of-the-art 2,460sqm space conceived by architects Moatti-Rivière, fulfilling a dual educational-cultural mission.

Located in the old Banque de France building, next to the train station in the city centre, Le Signe holds temporary exhibitions, seminars, conferences, and offers resources and workshops for researchers and cultural exchanges.

Director Hélène Charbonnier sees the ambitious programme of Le Signe as “an obligation to those who imagine, create and reinvent the images and symbols that inhabit our daily visual environment”. The venue will remain flexible to evolve and adapt to the growing mediums and disciplines of future generations of designers.

Le Signe Chaumont
Le Signe Chaumont. © Sylvia Davis

The inaugural exhibition centres on the permanent collection of historical posters, dating from the days of Toulouse-Lautrec to the present day. The thoughtful architecture provides immense wall areas for hanging, interrupted by seamless openings to the city. The windows are cleverly placed in such a way that natural light will flood in but never directly land on the fragile works on display.

Le Signe, 1 Place des Arts, Chaumont. Inaugural exhibition until 8 January. Festival International de l’Affiche et du Graphisme, 12-22 May, 2017.

From France Today magazine