Museum of things: Cabinet of curiosities in Paris

21 : 08 : 2013 Art : Curated Retail : Zoning

Paris – It is difficult to describe Le Comptoir Général. It bills itself as a ‘ghetto museum’, but to reduce it to that would be to simplify the multimedia space where art, music, books, food, toys and French Imperial African aesthetic combine.

Le Comptoir Général’s mission is to highlight ‘ghetto culture’ – culture from marginalised sectors of society, particularly in Africa. The museum houses knick-knacks, souvenirs and artworks from the continent, amongst a ramshackle setting of torn wallpaper, old exhibition posters and recreated living rooms from another era. There are strangely named sections such as La Petite Boutique des Horreurs (The Little Shop of Horrors), Le Cabinet de Sorcellerie (The Witchcraft Cabinet) and Le Centre des Objets Perdus (‘The Centre of Lost Properties’).

The non-profit organisations runs art exhibits, film screenings, conferences, a radio broadcast, a record shop, toy shop, vintage shop and workshops – the list is seemingly endless and all profits fund sustainable artistic pursuits.

There has been a recent proliferation of spaces that are neither one thing nor the other, but are multipurpose and symbiotic. To see more, read our Symbiotic Branding macrotrend.

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