Earlier this year the Victor Hugo Centre concept designs for the multi-purpose space were unveiled.
DLM architects, and our exhibition designers Casson Mann, created and developed the plans, alongside our engineers Dorey, Lyle& Ashman. A CGI' fly-through' video shows the vision for the Centre.
The concept designs present the restoration and repurposing of the landmark Guernsey States Offices building into a modern public centre, celebrating Victor Hugo and the island that became his home.
The project demonstrates the team's broad ambitions for the Centre as a catalyst for inspiring the creativity of the next generation, influenced by Victor Hugo's imagination and passion for humanity and social change, and at the same time revitalising the seafront and North Plantation where the building sits.
When Hugo lived in Guernsey, the site on which the proposed Victor Hugo Centre will sit did not exist – just being north of the historic harbour it would have been underwater, somewhat poetically beneath the sea that Hugo became so inspired by. As seen in some of Hugo's early photography work, the larger harbour that we know today was still under construction when he arrived on the island, with the North Quay and North Plantation constructed between 1843 and 1860.
Standing in the forecourt in front of the entrance will be a statue of Gilliat from Toilers of the Sea, Hugo's novel dedicated to Guernsey. Toilers of the Sea perfectly encapsulates the relationship between Victor Hugo and Guernsey, and the statue of Gilliat will welcome visitors to the Centre.
Designed as a multi-purpose space, the Centre will be suitable to host a wide range of activities and events for the whole community as well as visitors to the island.
Here, you can see a sketching class meeting in one of the multi-purpose rooms on the ground floor. The Centre will be a creative community hub and encourage all visitors to be inspired by Guernsey as Victor Hugo was.
The former States offices building has an important place in the island's history, which we want to preserve as much as possible. The building dates back to 1911 and was built in a Classical Edwardian style. The staircase just inside the entrance, with its characterful timber handrail and metal balusters, will be a retained original feature leading up to the first-floor museum. The Centre will also have a central lift to ensure accessibility for all.
Our internationally acclaimed exhibition designers, Casson Mann, have worked-up some early concepts, so we can imagine how the displays will look. Pictured is the immersive and interactive area, with a map of Guernsey at its centre surrounded by large wall-mounted screens. Using modern digital technology, visitors will be able to interrogate the map to identify specific local landmarks around Guernsey that Hugo used to visit and had a close connection to, including Bordeaux Harbour, Havelet Bay and many more.
The screens will show changing images of the sea as well as Hugo's artwork, immersing visitors in the sea that inspired him and the visionary artworks that resulted from that inspiration.
We hope these plans will create a better understanding of the opportunities this project will present for Guernsey and the wider community.
If you have any questions on the concept designs, please read our FAQs linked below, or feel free to reach out via Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.