The museum stands on a point jutting into the water, and its triangular form effectively frames the curving bay of the beach. From here, the rhythms of its columns offer a contemporary interpretation of the arches below the promenade that overlooks the old fishing port. Yet while the promenade follows the cascading topography, making it accessible from above and below, Ricciotti’s building offers no such multilevel interplay.
Inside, the museum is a free-plan space, like a floor in a speculative office building. It is enclosed entirely by tinted floor-to-ceiling glass, a dubious solution for exhibiting Cocteau’s delicate drawings and projections of his films. The glare dims the projections, and curators have rigged shading curtains in some areas. A central core separates the entrance—housing a café, bookshop, and temporary exhibition space—from the permanent exhibits. The finishes are uniformly white.
Musée Jean Cocteau 1: The museum stands between the Mediterranean and the market square in Menton, a picturesque resort near Monaco. The building’s glass curtain wall is wrapped with a shallow pergola of writhing columns, which are made of finely molded concrete and are evocative of Cocteau’s dreamlike imagery.
Musée Jean Cocteau 2: Seen up close, the columns create interesting frames for views in and out.
Musée Jean Cocteau 3: The museum entrance faces a large plaza. Here, a deep, moatlike porch provides daylight to the lower-level spaces.
Musée Jean Cocteau 4: A pair of bridges span the resulting divide for access to the lobby. “In formal terms, the building is an archetype of arcades with very strong shadows,” says the architect, noting the proximity of the frontier with Italy, where the type is common. These arcades, however, do not lend themselves to strolling or relaxing over a drink.
Musée Jean Cocteau 5: Pristine temporary and permanent exhibition spaces on the main gallery floor are configured within a free plan around a central core that separates the entrance and lobby from the exhibits.
Project Location Menton France
Project Type: Museum
Other projects by Rudy Ricciotti Architect