The creation of the Cité internationale de la tapisserie is in response to UNESCO incorporating the craftsmanship of tapestry into its list of intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.
This new equipment is suported by a "syndicat mixte" gathering the Departmental Council of Creuse, the Region Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes and the Community of Communes Creuse Grand Sud. Its President is Valérie Simonet, President of the Departmental Council.
Inaugurated by the President of the Republic, the Cité de la tapisserie opened in July 10th 2016, within the building of the former National School of Decorative Art (ENAD) of Aubusson, entirely rehabilitated.
A promoted heritage, ambitious contemporary creations
The task of the Cité internationale de la tapisserie is to preserve, increase and highlight the great craftsmanship of tapestry in Aubusson. With a new scientific and cultural project, it creates a reference collection tracing the history of six centuries of production in Aubusson. The collections currently feature 330 wall tapestries, 15,000 graphic works, 4,000 handicraft implements testifying to the craft skills, etc.
The Cité de la tapisserie builds on the past while looking forward to the future with the Regional Fund for the Creation of Contemporary Tapestries. It thus represents a key component in the re-launch of artistic creation in Aubusson, especially through an annual call for artistic projects since 2010.
A lively artistic craftsmanship
Ensuring the transmission of the Aubusson skills in weaving and textile interpretation is another great task of the Cité de la tapisserie. For the first time in nearly 20 years a training program for new weavers was set up. This led to the opening of new workshops in 2013-2014 and contributed to maintaining employment.
The Cité de la tapisserie promotes and accompanies a preserved economic sector (spinning mills, dyeing plants, weavers, textile conservators, artists “cartonniers”). This new cultural installation brings the players of the sector together and reaffirms a strong identity built around an internationally recognized expertise. It also represents a tool for economic development in the Massif Central territory with a strategy focused on the animation of a network of high quality enterprises, specialised in textile and woven art, and also on the establishment of innovative companies willing to highlight the “univers Aubusson”.
The tapestry museum of the Cité: a luxury case for Aubusson tapestry
The rehabilitation of the National School of Decorative Art ended with the hand-over of the building in March 2016 by the Cité internationale de la tapisserie. The restructuring project was carried out by Terreneuve architecture studio, unanimously selected by a jury at the end of an architectural competition launched in 2012. The Terreneuve team, led by Nelly Breton and Olivier Fraisse, was able to capitalise on the existing structure of the building, in particular by underpinning the building in order to create an exhibition area with monumental dimensions. Exhibition spaces treble regarding the former Departmental Museum, whose management belongs to the Cité de la tapisserie since 2011.