One of the most significant French centres for national art and culture, this Parisian complex (often known as 'the Beaubourg') has included a museum, library, and centres for research in art, architecture, and design. It has proved to be highly successful in appealing to visitors from home and abroad, attracting more on a daily basis than the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, or the Louvre Museum. Shakespeare's globe theatre
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After becoming French president in 1969, Georges Pompidou pursued his radical cultural vision of creating a cultural centre that would bring together the worlds of museology and creative practice, setting the creative and performing arts alongside a library, cinema, and audio-visual research. Pompidou Centre was realized through the initiation of an ambitious building programme in the centre of Paris in 1972.
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The Pompidou Centre itself was a radical design of glass and metal, with moving escalators, walkways, and brightly coloured service ducts revealed boldly on the exterior. Designed by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers it was opened by President Giscard d'Estaing in 1977 and incorporated the Public Information Library (BPI) with almost 500,000 volumes, backed up by modern technologies, multimedia, and a large collection of magazines.
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It also incorporated the National Modern Art Museum (MNAM) and the Industrial Design Centre (Centre de Création Industrielle, CCI, established in 1969). The radicalism of the enterprise was underlined by the appointment of Pontus Hulten, a foreign national and former director of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, to direct the museum. The Swiss graphic designer Jean Widmer, who also designed the first logo and a number of striking posters for the CCI, conceived the early corporate identity for the Pompidou Centre.
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However, in 1995 the Pompidou Centre was reorganized into four departments, one of which combined the MNAM and the CCI with the aim of creating one of the world's leading collections of art, architecture, and design. In 1997 the Pompidou Centre was closed for renovation, reopening in 2000 with a further shift in policy that had been set in place in 1998 with the aim of providing more effective support for creative practice as well as the collections.
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By the early 21st century the MNAM-CCI collection included the work of 4,200 artists, 36,000 examples of the visual arts (including photography and film), and more than 1,500 design objects (including drawings as well as manufactured products)