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Enter Chaumont’s Le Signe, France’s graphic design museum

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y entrusting me the general direction of Signe, national center of graphic design last July, the City of Chaumont placed in my hands the accompaniment of the birth of a new cultural equipment” says Hélène Charbonnier, the Executive director of a place entirely dedicated to graphic design that inspires and educates. “My ambitions for Le Signe are dual, to erect this institute as a reference point for graphic design in France and abroad, while at the same time bringing a new dynamic to the culture of graphic design, carried out jointly by the public initiated and neophytes” she adds. “The architecture borrows its typology from that of the universe of graphic design and from the objects and supports that have always invested this art form and continue to do so today: the poster – the sheet of paper – the page – the screen – the billboard” comments Alain Moatti, architect-scenograph of Le Signe.

The new building is located in the heart of the city of Chaumont, in the overall reflection of the area of the station and “in and near” the old building of the Bank of France. The aim was to renovate the Banque de France and make best use of its potential for the new project, to put the functions of temporary and permanent exhibition and their logistics into a new functional and symbolic building of the National Graphic Center.

“The creation of the Signe, a national graphic center in the heart of the city of Chaumont, has a twofold logic: to enhance Chaumont, legitimately erected as a historic cradle of graphic design thanks to the Dutailly legacy, while offering an institutional response to artistic, political and economic issues facing contemporary graphic design. The aura of the International Festival of the poster testified during these twenty-five years of existence of the capacity of the City of Chaumont to receive an event honoring the graphic art as a whole in its own part: Of artistic and technical know-how, crossed by the human sciences.”

As the contemporary political, economic and public scope of graphic design requires a redefinition of the subject Le Signe aspires to provide a place suitable for the culture, use and history of signs & graphic design.

The current evolution towards the terminology of graphic design requires that work is taken into account upstream of the creation of shapes, the establishment of a relationship around the subject and appropriate working methods. By reducing it to its essence, graphics are the art of making visible a content, of granting a background or message to communicate to the form that will take its communication.

Le Signe, the National Graphic Design Center, will offer a quality cultural offer, catering to a diversity of audiences, with a peak of activity at the International Festival of Poster and Graphics. Far from being a simple museum, Le Signe aspires to integrate within it a plurality of missions participating in the influence of graphic design. Enter here.