Covid-19: The Pompidou Centre in Paris prepares to reopen with one-way system and...

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Home / Art and Culture / Covid-19: The Pompidou Centre in Paris prepares to reopen with one-way system and masks

As France accelerates the unwinding of what was one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns led by the coronavirus pandemic, restoration work to the Pompidou museum’s external escalators has resumed.

The Pompidou Centre was designed by British architect Richard Rogers and Italian Renzo Piano before either hit stardom. Many Parisians hated it at first - detractors said the “inside-out” building resembled an oil refinery - before slowly taking it to their hearts.

Since March this year, the Centre Pompidou has also opened its doors to the public virtually. From extensive content available on modern and contemporary art to some of their popular exhibitions, visitors could take guided tours online as people stayed home.

Due to Covid-19 crisis however, The Pompidou Centre in Paris, home to Europe’s largest modern art collection, will be left 20 million euros out of pocket but its director Serge Lasvignes has a more pressing matter on his hands - how to reopen safely.

His plan includes online ticket sales to avoid queues at the gate, a one-way flow around the museum’s cavernous interior demarcated by arrows and guided tours of the permanent exhibitions for groups no larger than 10 people. And masks.

“We’ve got to make a visit as fluid as possible,” Lasvignes told Reuters, as staff cleaned public areas and moved works ahead of the July 1 reopening.

In normal times, French visitors make up 60% of the 3.5 million people who marvel at the paintings and sculptures of Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Wassily Kandinsky and others.

That may help the Pompidou Centre recover faster than museums that draw a higher proportion of foreign visitors, like the Louvre. Even so, Lasvignes said the rebound would likely take until 2022.

“We’re less exposed than a big museum like the Louvre, but we’re exposed nonetheless,” he said.

The museum’s bookshop that sells books on art, design, architecture and photography, restaurants and design shop will all open on July 1. The library, where normally the city’s students queue to access the millions of books, will reopen later in the summer and quarantine each book for at least three days after it has been returned.

Researchers will have to book appointments and numbers allowed inside at any one time will be limited.

“We’ll lose around 20 million euros in lost ticketing, membership and event revenues,” Lasvignes said.

-- with inputs from Reuters

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