Ideally located, MOCO will serve as the main headquarters for Montpellier Contemporain. Inaugurated in June 2019 in the former Montcalm Hôtel, MOCO will be Montpellier’s cultural platform. The centre will not exhibit permanent collections but will host international public or private collections. Whether collective, individual, themed or historical, each exhibition will show a specific collection: that of a foundation, a private collector, a company, a museum or even an artist. Most collections will be shown to the general public here for the first time.
A stimulating place for living, open to all
Modern and cosmopolitan, MOCO offers audiences of all types the opportunity to fully engage with modern-day art. MOCO has been designed as place in which to spend time and, beyond the exhibitions themselves, a place for the general public as a whole, whatever their age, to enjoy. Indeed, the ground-floor restaurant, gardens and boutique (renewed seasonally), will be warm and welcoming and will punctuate Montpellier’s day and night life. A partnership has also been launched with Montpellier’s Paul Valéry University and its network of researchers, to set up an international research centre on the concept of collection, in all its diversity.
Works of art, freely accessible to all
Alongside the temporary exhibitions, the venue is also dedicated to hosting the work of artists directly related to the architecture of the building. This approach was an integral and essential component in Philippe Chiambaretta’s project: in his own words, “the magical rebirth of MOCO (formerly, Montcalm Hôtel) through the artistic transformation of functional to fictional. The fiction will unravel in three sequences: the Magic Garden, the Enchanted Hôtel and the Cour des Fêtes.
The magic garden, an atlas-garden designed by Bertrand Lavier
Bertrand Lavier, who was entrusted with the creation of a permanent work outdoors, has crafted a garden in the form of a world map, composed of plant species from the four corners of the globe, all lovingly selected with gardener, landscaper, botanist and biologist, Gilles Clément. The project is all about taking time, the natural time required for the seasonal evolution of plants: planting, growing and evolving, peaceful animals only, no predators, slowly does it here... two turtles will inhabit this natural living environment.
The garden will be divided into two parts: one part can be entered, and the other not. Signage designed by Bertrand Lavier will echo the former labelling codes of botanical gardens. A fountain designed by the artist, will grace the centre of the planted atlas. The garden, specially designed for MOCO, is the first ever made by the artist.
The enchanted Hôtel: artistic happenings around the building
Along with the garden, the refurbished building will host two artistic happenings: one in the restaurant/bar area, the other in the gardens, on the façade.Restaurant/bar area: The Unplayed Notes Factory was born during the 2017 Venice Biennale, of Loris Gréaud’s project to revive a former glass factory on the island of Murano by launching production of 1 200 filament lamps, all handblown and unique. Brought to life again for the launch of MOCO, Loris Gréaud’s works, with their cloud-like, luminescent forms, will cover the ceiling of the future bar of the Hôtel des collections, thus enhancing an area designed for sharing and hospitality.
The Cour des fêtes, a flexible, city-centrer events venue
Finally, MOCO also offers a flexible space which can be transformed at will (artists, students, businesses, charities...). The 640m² Cours des Fêtes, located to the rear of the building, is a fully-fledged events venue, which can be reinvented with MOCO’s artistic programming. The Cour des Fêtes can also be fully privatized for corporate customer and/or staff hospitality events in a unique, timeless setting, impregnated with the values of innovation embodied by contemporary art.