The Museum of Confluences (Musée des Confluences) in Lyon, France, captivates visitors with a fascinating permanent exhibition dedicated to natural history and anthropology. The building also boasts a striking modern design by the renowned architect Wolf D. Prix.
The magnificent structure is known as “the glass cloud” due to the unique effect caused by the materials used in its construction: glass, concrete, and stainless steel, as well as for its elevated location at the tip of the peninsula where the Rhone and Saone rivers meet.
The design of the Musée des Confluences is based on the concept of confluence, drawing inspiration from the natural environment and the institution’s purpose, which covers various expressions of art, history, natural science, philosophy, and architecture.
A spectacular lobby greets visitors with a vast atrium of translucent glass and metal structures featuring a cone that descends from the ceiling to the center of the lobby. Inside the building, a spiral ramp surrounding the cone, allows visitors to appreciate the complexity of the construction.
The galleries are organized to offer four main exhibitions. The first is called The Origins and combines elements of natural science, mythology, and religion that describe the different theories about the origin of life. The second, called Species focuses on the influence human beings have had in the development of the various animal forms, inviting visitors to reflect on the impact of humans on the ecosystem.
In the third gallery, we find the exhibition Societies: The Human Drama, which chronicles the cultural and social relationships of humanity from the concepts of organization, sharing, and creation. And finally, the fourth gallery called Eternities: Visions of the Afterlife reflects on death and its different interpretations throughout history.
The museum also has two public spaces worth visiting. One is a square located below the main hall, decorated with a sober, rectangular fountain that contrasts with the sloping planes of the roof, and the other is an elevated lookout which offers spectacular views of the city and the confluence of the rivers bordering the building.
Since its inauguration in December 2014, the Musée des Confluences has brought to the city of Lyon a new modern and innovative profile, and today is one of the most attractive reasons to visit this beautiful city in eastern France. ■
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