Renovation of Salle Richelieu thanks to Natixis’ sponsorship

© Cosimo Mirco Magliocca, coll. Comédie-Française

Salle Richelieu re-opened to the public on January 26 after being closed for more than one year. Comédie Française took advantage of this time required to bring technical and accessibility equipment up to standards to launch a large-scale acoustic and aesthetic renovation. Today, the quality of sound for spectators has been improved, regardless of where they are sitting.

Purpose of the renovation

The purpose of the renovation done in 2012 was to restore the acoustic quality of Salle Richelieu in keeping with the spirit of the original architecture and decor.

It was decided to recreate the white and gold woodwork, to rediscover the color for the ground floor boxes and to remove the excess of velvet, brocade and carpetry that muffled sound.

The use of wood, primarily to reflect sound, also helped recreate the alignment of the double-doors to the boxes to punctuate the room between vertical and horizontal lines.

The large-scale renovation, fully financed by private sponsors (Caisse d'Epargne Île-de-France, Natixis and Fondation Total jointly with Fondation du Patrimoine) lasted six months. It was entrusted to Sophie Bourgeois, Director of Buildings and Equipment of Comédie-Française, and were carried out by Christophe Bottineau, Chief Architect for Historic Monuments.

Film-Comédie-Française-salle Richelieu

A technical and acoustic challenge

The renovation helped readjust the balance between absorbing materials (thick carpeting, back of the room, box separators, etc.) and reverberating materials (ceiling, gilding on mezzanines, etc.).

The acoustic renovation increased total reverberating surface and was in harmony with the architectural aspect of the renovation. Actors can now use a normal voice  – they no longer need to speak in a loud voice – and the audience enjoys a better listening quality.


The renovation in pictures

© Cosimo Mirco Magliocca, coll. Comédie-Française