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The whole world of skiing under one roof: over the years, Laurent Donzé has collected thousands of skis, helmets, boots, goggles and much more. Now his treasures can be admired in their own museum. The scenography was created by atelier oï and is inspired by the curves of the snow and the waves of the ski slopes.

By Andrea Eschbach

Musée du ski – Le Boéchet

A wooden pair of skis from Lapland dating back to 1870, antique ski boots made of leather or from the 1980s with flap fasteners, spacy ski goggles, race numbers, medals and even the race boards of sports stars such as Didier Cuche or Dario Cologna: the “Musée du ski” in Le Boéchet JU, which opened in September, is a real treasure trove. Switzerland’s only ski museum is located in the Jura Franches-Montagnes – a popular cross-country skiing region. Laurent Donzé’s collection also began with cross-country skiing. The passionate cross-country skier became interested in cross-country skis and wax types in the mid-1970s. One thing soon led to another, and over the next few decades a collection was created that is second to none.

Laurent Donze © Christian Galley

From inventory to corporate design

In 2020, atelier oï was commissioned to create a scenography for the exhibits and a corporate design for the museum. The task proved to be challenging, as the first step was to create an inventory with a database of all the objects. “We had to build everything from scratch,” explains Aurel Aebi, co-founder of the French-speaking Swiss studio. “The inventory alone took two of our employees two years. The museum is aimed at ski experts and interested people alike. It invites visitors to immerse themselves in the history of this sport and follow its development from its beginnings to the present day.

Skis galore, photo: Musée du ski

The world of skiing can be explored on three floors of the old building. Reception and a small cabinet of curiosities await guests on the second floor. The center of the museum is the permanent exhibition entitled “On the historical traces of skiing” on the top floor, where only one window brings light into the attic. The scenography reflects the density of the collection in a wintry atmosphere: “As the museum is introverted, we imagined an interior landscape that creates the illusion of openness towards the surrounding landscape.” The staging is inspired by the curves of the snow and the waves of the ski slopes that make their way across the snow-covered slopes. White lacquered wooden slats evoke drifting snow dunes on the ground. The joints act as supports for the skis, a system that can be adjusted again and again. Indirect lighting illuminates the islands as if on a carpet of light. In order to achieve visual expanse, mirrors mounted at knee height multiply the exhibition architecture. The lower part of the mirrors is covered with a white degradé foil, which creates a misty atmosphere. On the ceiling of the top floor, the wooden beams support a slatted frame in which skis are stored. Headphones tell stories about the objects at selected stations. The first floor is dedicated to the temporary exhibition, currently entitled: “With a shot at the podium: Skiing today”.

Musée du ski
Musée du ski

Relaxing under a snowy sky

The new extension houses meeting rooms, a library and a workshop. On the top floor, behind the wooden slatted façade, children can let off steam or chill out on beanbags. A white mobile, reminiscent of snowflakes, floats above their heads. Like the small “Mille-feuille” table, whose stacked sheets of paper serve as a drawing surface, it was designed by atelier oï. The entire corporate design was also created by the designers from western Switzerland: the logo, for example, evokes the abstract silhouette of the new building, from which a pair of skis emerges from the façade – just like on the ski slope in front of the hut. The poster designs also play with linearity. An early skier has probably already drawn his tracks in the snow on a freshly milled ski slope.

Under the snowy sky, Photo: Musée du ski

A museum that might seem somewhat anachronistic in times of global warming and melting glaciers. But Laurent Donzé disagrees. “I want to make a clear distinction between the role of a museum and climate change. The museum must take future changes into account, but this should not call its existence into question.” A true statement, especially in a country that is synonymous with skiing.

Musée du ski
Le Boéchet 12, 2336 Les Bois
Co-founder and curator: Laurent Donzé
Interior architecture and corporate design: atelier oï, La Neuveville

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