Opened in 2019 in Clermont-Ferrand, Mille Formes is the first perennial art initiation center for 0-6 year olds with an artistic program designed and made specifically for this (very) young audience.

Until the end of November, the artist, fashion designer and designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac invested Thousand Forms. Its exhibition “The People of Tomorrow”, installed at Centre Pompidou, has been adapted for space of 700 m2 located in Clermont-Ferrand with always several educational devices around signs, symbols, sounds and a universal language.

Another sign of the collaboration between the two Parisian and Auvergne museums. Since 2019, Clermont-Ferrand has opened Mille Formes, an art initiation centre reserved for toddlers, a project conceived and designed in 2017 with the Centre Pompidou. « He had some expertise on art for toddlers that allowed them to know how to build the project, remembers Sarah Mattera, site manager. Initially, it had to be training, but this led to more in-depth support, such as during the programming phase during the prefiguration phases. » Today, the two structures collaborate together through the organization of trainings and the lending of exhibitions and interactive workshops.

A great place for toddlers


A first phase of experimentation was conducted during three weeks in April 2018 at the Camille-Claudel center to allow the inhabitants to apprehend and discover the workshops and the place. Then it was in an old clothing shop that the centre took place with a very studied design. « It is a crossing place with a large window overlooking the street. We do not want to partition this place but instead create spaces with a certain fluidity for the different audiences ” continues Sarah Mattera.

The designer Laure Jaffuel has thus imagined different areas (gallery, workshops, mini-cinema, agora, area for 0-2 years...), each with its own identity and its own programming. « The idea is to create a playground and make it very, very big for toddlers ” continues Sarah Mattera. Thus, all the furniture – like the closets – was designed at the adult level but with accessories such as stepladders for children to access.

Programming that is constantly changing


The 0-6 age group has imposed itself, the offer being still little developed for this age and the phase being pivotal for the development of the child. « It corresponds to a sensitive period among toddlers, hence the importance of immersing them in creation to develop their imagination and social bond, explains Sarah Mattera. This center participates in the well-being because it awakens to different universes, opens children to the world, to the other, to elsewhere and to different aesthetic forms. This greatly develops their intelligence and understanding of the world. » Mille Formes has chosen to distinguish between plus and minus two years. « But here, everything is quite moving, said the director. A lot of things are experimented with proposals that do not necessarily concern age but where the child is, such as the acquisition or not of walking. » Above all, this multidisciplinary place is not only reserved for children and also wants to touch their parents who are integrated in each workshop.

With an audience of nearly 350 visitors per week, the program is very fast-paced with exhibitions that change every three to four months. All are geared towards the manipulation and awakening of the senses with, for example, for babies, listening to sound devices. “ There are few things under glass except a mini-museum with a piece from each museum of the city to show that in a museum, everything is not necessarily to touch », warns Sarah Mattera. This space is both an anchor and a place of transition intended to make the cultural link between Mille Formes and the other cultural and heritage spaces of Clermont-Ferrand.

Finally more than an artistic place, Mille Formes is also a place of experimentation open to the city and exchanges with other professions of early childhood. Symposia are organized and stakeholders of the early childhood network can participate in meetings with professionals. The center has also developed an out-of-the-walls programming throughout the Massif Central so that the initiation to art extends to the greatest number of toddlers.

Station 0.2, new space for toddlers at the Centre Pompidou


On the occasion of the National Meeting of Artistic and Cultural Awakening, the Centre Pompidou unveils Station 0.2, a new workshop space entirely dedicated to 0-2 year olds. « The centre has invested in the field of early childhood and is always keen to imagine new devices to reach new audiences, confirms Charlotte Bruyère, Deputy Executive Director of the institution. This project symbolizes our willingness to invest in the theme of early childhood. » This space is in addition to the 2-5 years and 6-10 years, located in the Children’s gallery.

This true field of experimentation is inaugurated with TUBABULURES, designed with the duo of designers from BehaghelFoiny. This colourful tubular sensory landscape, composed of inflatable parts and foams, echoes the architectural tubes of the Centre Pompidou. Babies will be able to move, touch or even climb on a set of strange elements, to make them produce sound.
Until February 4, 2023