Centre Georges Pompidou or Centre Pompidou is a complex that stands tall in Beaubourg, an area in Paris’ 4th arrondissement. It is also famous in English as Pompidou Centre and is named after French President, Georges Pompidou (1969-74). It was officially declared open to the common public by the then President of France, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing on 31st January, 1977.
Commencing from the masterpieces of Modern art fathers like Picasso, Warhol etc. to the most recent contemporary artists, Centre Pompidou is the sole museum the world has seen, offering a complete exhibition of arts from 20th as well as 21st century. The latest 2013 figures specify that the place saw 5,209,678 visitors of which 3,746,899 visited the museum that year.
GTM built the centre, which was completed by 1977. But an initial idea to build a complex dedicated to multiple cultures, arts and literature, popped out in the creative heads of André Malraux, the first Cultural Affairs Minister of France. Later to make Paris, a leading hub of art and culture, city planners and others proposed shifting of several city cultural attractions, Les Halles food markets, structures of historic significance and Musée d'Art Moderne etc. Further, following controversies and debates, Plateau Beaubourg was declared as Paris library’s new site by President Charles de Gaulle in 1968. The project was adopted and carried forward in 1969 by President Georges Pompidou after whom the centre is named. Earlier IRCM and later in 1992 Centre de Création Industrielle were added into the Centre Pompidou. The centre’s extreme popularity also victimised it during 1980’s. Also, the Centre was re-opened in 2000 post a renovation that spanned for three years (1996-2000). While it had cost 993 million French francs of 1972, the 1996-2000 renovation of 576 million francs of 1999.
The revolutionary architecture of Centre Pompidou is a creation of Italian architects Renzo Piano and Gianfranco Franchini and Richard Rogers – a British architect. A design completion was conducted, where world famous architects showcased their designs and these three were assigned the Centre’s design project after being declared winners in 1971. An international designer working on the design of a building was the first instance in France.
The building has five floors, each showcasing different art and culture masterpieces. The centre has three key attractions residing in namely, IRCM, Bibliothèque publique d'information and Musée National d'Art Moderne. While the first is an acoustic and music research centre, second is the largest library in France and the last is Europe’s biggest museum of modern art.
Based on their purpose, the different functional structures, present on the exterior of the building, have different colours. Elevators are red, electricity has yellow colour, air conditioning is blue and the plumbing is done in green.
It is another striking attraction present in the premises of the Centre. Also renowned as Fontaine des automates, the Stravinsky fountain has 16 moving whimsical sculptures that are spraying water. Created by Niki de Saint-Phalle and Jean Tinguely, they symbolise works and themes of Igor Stravinsky, the famous French composer. While the black coloured sculptures are a work of Tinguely, the coloured structures are done by Niki de Saint-Phalle. The fountain was declared open in 1983.
Place Georges Pompidou
The Place of Georges Pompidou, which is present right in front of Centre, witnesses a plethora of artists ranging from street performers, jugglers, mimesis sketch artists, bands etc. The carnivals organised here in spring is a must visit site for art lovers. There are also skateboarding competitions and dinners hosted during that time.
The top view
The top floor of the Centre Pompidou gives everyone a wide view of the city of Paris, including Eiffel Tower, Pantheon, Sacré Coeur, Notre Dame and Conciergerie.
An individual mobile sculpture Horizontal, which is a creation of Alexander Calder, was kept in the front premises of the Centre in 2012.
Georges Pompidou’s design was called ‘love at second sight’ by National Geographic.