The International Centre for Graphic Design (CIG) is part of a wide-ranging redevelopment of the railway-station district in Chaumont. Les Silos, featuring a piazza designed by Ruedi Baur, will play an emblematic role at the gateway to the town, opening onto a cultural quarter that engages with its surroundings. This district – adjacent, and with pedestrian access, to the town centre – stretches from events venue Salle Jean Masson to the former municipal garage.
This setting underpinned the Mayor’s decision, as part of his major-projects programme, to site the CIG in the former Banque de France building. The intention is to strengthen the cultural role of the district, and use it to conduct an active policy of developing audiences and blending cultures. Four cultural venues will be neighbours:
- the multiplex cinema in the former municipal garage;
- the media centre and the Musée des Silos;
- the International Centre for Graphic Design, housed in the old Banque de France building;
- Les Subsistances warehouse.
The International Centre for Graphic Design has the following objectives:
Conserve the existing collections and plan their expansion
The Stedelijk Museum is providing Chaumont at no cost with its poster-storage system, which uses mobile hangers for easier handling. Likewise, the method of indexing and digitising the collections must be redesigned to make the collections easier to consult (digital database, preparation of exhibitions, publications policy) and available for research work. A scientific and technical committee will be set up to categorise the contemporary collections and ensure they are managed appropriately. In addition, posters will not be the only constituent of the graphic heritage conserved in Chaumont. Greater consideration must be given to all kinds of exhibition, large-format artworks, and the full array of graphic-design media (books, identities, etc.).
Present the collections
The flexible display spaces will be adaptable to the full range of graphic genres. The twofold purpose of such exhibitions is to showcase Chaumont’s collections and to assist the public in discovering the history of graphic design and the issues that inform it. Because graphic design is a creative discipline, these spaces must be equally able to exhibit heritage items and new work.
Residencies held by graphic designers, who will take part in CIG-led projects in schools, non-profit organisations and – why not – industrial contexts, will make the Centre a lived-in forum. In particular, it must facilitate relationships between potential clients and institutions involved in graphic design.
Set up a high-level training centre
To complement the activities already in place, there are plans to create a post-graduate degree, and to host research on graphic design (historical research on the collections, and critical research regarding the exhibition programme) but also through graphic design (putting graphic designers in touch with other stakeholders in the same subject area).
Take part in local economic and cultural development
The intention is to establish a relationship of mutual interest between a town and discipline through an event (the Festival) and a place. Photography in Arles (population: 52,197), comics in Angoulême (42,669) or product design in Saint-Étienne (178,000) have demonstrated the usefulness of these “twinnings” in raising awareness of the towns and the resultant boost in attracting business tourists and set-ups. In addition, the applied dimension of graphic design must inform economic issues at the Champagne-Ardenne regional level.
Play the expected role in promoting graphic design, in France and beyond
Be a landmark institution in the French landscape, capable of interfacing and networking with other French and international establishments. Embody national action in favour of graphic design and, at the same time, make visible and coordinate initiatives by graphic-design stakeholders: the profession, schools, non-profit organisations, etc. The CIG’s role will necessarily relate to the recognition of graphic design – a recognition on which depends the success of the Centre as a leading cultural establishment.
Incorporate and continue the missions of the International Poster and Graphic Design Festival of Chaumont
Group together the teams in Chaumont who work on graphic design, and create synergies between them. Leverage the logistics base (i.e. the CIG) to strengthen the Festival’s exhibitions and to better manage their upstream and downstream phases (integration in collections, publications). Refine the notion of encounter/connection that is inherent to staging an event.