/ La Laiterie du Domaine des Etangs, Massigniac
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A gallery space and two libraries positioned on the two outstanding mezzanines of the Laiterie space of the Luxurious resort Domaine des Etangs in Massignac, France
A solid 18th century building Made of stone and wood, it is solid and reassuring. It reminds us of a time when everything was slower and more durable. The Dairy is today the rustic showcase of an immense knowledge and way of a life. It shelters great beauties. Past, present and future combine in the service of curiosity and knowledge.
It is located at the entrance of the château’s garden. It highlights the perspective and with many other buildings - farmhouses and the mill - and is an integral part of the history of the Domaine des Etangs. Beautiful limestone, thick oak beams, symmetry and height; this construction is ingeniously functional.
“The library represents transmission, a link between past, present and future. This knowledge, this wisdom must be preserved and sustained in a time that is one and unique.”
There are two spaces to read, learn or work, two libraries that contain much more than books. Everything has been designed to establish a successful dialogue between content and container. One cannot exist without the other.
A miracle of chance or fate, this piece, dating from the 1930s and over 8 metres long, fits perfectly - to the nearest centimetre - on the mezzanine wall.
At each end of the building are two mezzanines. They communicate above the central exhibition space, face one another, and complement each other. On the left is that of the past, on the right that of the future. Between the two, a present always in movement represented by the works exhibited in the gallery.
DESCRIPTION OF LA LAITERIE
In the ground floor of La Laiterie is a vast, fully modular exhibition space ready to accommodate all types of works, either exhibited on picture rails or installed inside.
Each element of both libraries was made to measure by the best French craftsmen and, as far as possible, from local materials. Like these long benches located between the two libraries, each made from a single piece of local wood.
“Everything started with this brief about time. How could we present the books, preserve them, consult them? How could we highlight the past without making a museum, simply by rewriting it today?”
THE LIBRARY OF THE PAST
Time is made infinite here thanks to the interplaying mirrors placed on each side of the large piece from the Bibliothèque de France. Thus one can imagine the greatness of the whole to which it belonged and the immensity of the knowledge it contained.
For the library of the past, the codes of the gentlemen’s club were adopted, the atmosphere of the English smoking room, treating them with the necessary distance for a totally assumed modernity. The parquet is oak but made according to the grain cut method (cut perpendicular to the grainy Oscar Ono). The good old Chesterfield is rendered as an oversized meridienne couch. The colours are rich and deep, the materials noble: oak, aged leather, velvet, wool, silk, and mohair.
Above it all, an oval ceiling light floats, a line of light composed of black steel and LEDs. It catches the eye, underlines the space, as does, just opposite, its twin above the library of the future since the dialogue is always continuous between the two spaces.
THE LIBRARY OF THE FUTURE
Everything is softer, clearer, rounder. You walk along a circular route that lets you go around books both literally and figuratively.
The cabinet containing the works, a contemporary response to the old library, is minimal, designed as if with a quill. In the reading room, the books are presented on the paper side, reinforcing the impression of serenity and lightness that emanates from this space.
On the walls of the mezzanine runs a continuous display made of Corian, which can display about sixty books standing and flat. The books become exhibition objects themselves, changing according to events, seasons, moods...
A monumental sofa more than six metres long embodies contemporary comfort. It is accompanied by large Charentes stone tables which, despite their density, seem to defy gravity and float above the ground. This aerial library is a space capsule that lifts the soul towards an enlightened, luminous future.