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Home > Current events > MUSÉE MANDET New department of contemporary design and decorative arts

New department of contemporary design and decorative arts


Following a year of works, the birth of a new section centered on silver and gold work, glass and ceramics.

Hiroshi Suzuki (born 1961 in Miyagi, Japan), vase Aqua Poesy IX, 2005, silver © Karine Joannet - Vice-Versa



14, rue de l’Hôtel de Ville
63200 RIOM


• Tel: 00 33 4 73 38 18 53
• Fax 00 33 4 73 38 73 05


• Open every day, except on Mondays, 10AM-12AM and 2PM-05:30 PM.
• 10AM–6PM in July and August


• Full rate: 3 €
• Reduced rate: 1.50 €
• Group with a minimum of 15 persons, school children, students, unemployed: 1.50 €
• Free admission: Wednesdays and persons under the age of 18


• Agence Observatoire
Véronique Janneau – Cécile Salem
Tel: 01 43 54 87 71
• Marie-Josée Linou, chief curator of the museums, Riom Communauté
Tel: 04 73 38 18 53

Following a year of works, the musée Mandet will reopen its doors and present to the public a new department dedicated to contemporary design and decorative arts, pedagogic areas adapted to the younger public, a reception with a boutique, and a library for researchers. The museum’s patio and carport have regained their original forms from the XVIIIth century, particularly enhanced by the contemporary work of visual artist Helène Mugot. Supervised by the regional direction of cultural affairs of Auvergne (DRACA), the rehabilitation of this building registered among the Historical Monuments and National Patrimony, was carried out by the agency Bruhat-Bouchaudy. The scenography was ensured by Alain Petitrenaud, from the agency DHA Design.

Mike Sharpe (born 1979), Teapot bug, 2003, silver plated copper © Karine Joannet - Vice-Versa

A third life for the musée Mandet

The museum was first created in 1866 to house the portraits of famous men from the Auvergne region. But it was very quickly enriched by paintings and sculptures from the Antiquity to the XIXth century. The musée Mandet underwent a spectacular development in 1983. Boosted by a donation from the Richard spouses, art amateurs and collectors from Riom, it doubled its exhibition area and bought some 1 500 pieces - paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewels, ivories, tapestries, furniture, enamels, copperware and silver and gold plate – that illustrate the main periods of the history of art, up to the XIXth century. These rich collections, in particular the civilian gold and silver pieces from the XVII and XVIII centuries, were the point of departure in 1990 for the creation of a fund of contemporary decorative art based on gold and silver plate, from the 1950s to our day, under the impulse of Marie Josée Linou, chief curator of the museums of Riom Communauté.

From Sottsass to Olivier Gagnère

While contemporary silver and gold plate remain the strong points, works made in glass and ceramics for example have also been purchased. The collection has been constantly enriched, and today represents some one hundred pieces designed by goldsmiths, ceramists or designers. Most of the art works belong to the musée Mandet, the others are from the National Contemporary Art Fund (FNAC). The T8 chandelier by Piero De Vecchi, of which the first edition dates back to 1947 (this piece is from 1998 by the same workshop), and the coffee service by Sigvard Bernadotte (1952) illustrate the evolution of forms designed throughout the second half of the XXth century, to this day. Major figures in the world of design, such as Ettore Sottsass, Olivier Gagnère, Elisabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti, Gae Aulenti or Jean Nouvel, show their capacity to use scales and materials as they please to surf from architecture to precious objects, while famous silver and goldsmiths such as Goudji and Roland Daraspe, reiterate, through their original and identifiable technique and style, the preeminence of the gesture. In parallel to these «famous names», the curator has developed a collection of works by artists who are still unknown by the public at large, to reflect international production.

Linde Burkhardt (born1937 in Singen , Germany), Black cup, 2001, steel and céramic © Karine Joannet - Vice-Versa

Towards an international design

The more the collection has enriched itself, the more difficult it seems to set up a geographic classification for works which –since the furniture fairs of Milano, Cologne or Paris in the 1980s – no longer reflect national specificities but rather that of the world situation (we can see it in the groupings of international artists such as Memphis). The collection from the musée Mandet was mounted in close link with the table objects from the Richard donation. Most of the works are unique pieces, sometimes designed for the museum itself (the crater cup by Roland Daraspe, the table centrepiece by Goudji). Technique and know-how were determining elements in the selection process. Metal, earth or glass can be worked in many different ways, thus giving visual results that are very varied. Other older and forgotten processes have been dug out and reused by designers who were sure of their value and modernized them: Olivier Gagnère with the crockery from Quimper and the enamels from Limoges, William Sawaya with Murano glass, Ettore Sottsass with Baccarat crystal. The upcoming exhibitions will underline the various aspects of this collection.


Contemporary design and decorative arts. Jewellery - glass - Ceramics - XX - XXI centuries. Collections of the musée Mandet of Riom, 104 pages, color reproductions, French and English versions - Edition Illustria - La Librairie des musées - 2010. Prix : 22 €

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