César Giron


The Fondation d’entreprise Martell is a cultural institution and a place for joyful encounters. More than ever, this venue in the heart of Cognac, dedicated to visitors and creators, is a space where people can breathe and escape to.

With the collective exhibition Places to be, the Foundation has continued its pursuit to explore artistic territory by – for the very first time – inviting several creators to produce one and the same experience.
As l’ombre de la vapeur by Adrien M & Claire B was leaving our building to head to Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, our exhibition area was transformed from shadow to light, from empty to full, from intangible to furnished.
Upstairs, the Ateliers du faire have formed the Foundation’s cultural ecosystem that was conceived back in 2016. Equipped with modern tools and machinery, they offer artists and artisans the freedom to create unique works of art combing materials and savoir-faire. What better way for this former factory to share the industrial past of a venue that was originally created as a production facility in 1928. The story that remains to be written begins with the oblong-shaped contours and intense reflections of La Cène, a monumental bronze commission by Guillaume Bardet upon which many meals have already been shared and many more will be shared in the future.
Fittingly, the completion of the construction work in this iconic building is scheduled for December 2020. The laboratory of ideas, handicrafts, and works of art, which the Foundation is evolving into, will constitute a world-unique “place of creation”.

In the meanwhile, we will continue our vocation to nurture the sensitivity of our audiences with a view to sharing a long-term capacity for collective empathy through familiar and unusual experiences.

Nathalie Viot


2020 – a turbulent and troubled year in the shadow of the coronavirus – has in one sense perhaps enabled resynchronisation. This opportunity to improve how we interact with the world requires us to adapt our ways of life to fit with that of the planet. The lockdown led us to rethink individually and collectively about our lifestyle at home. It was a welcome coincidence that the design exhibition Places to be, which was first conceived in 2018, touches on this subject through the installations of 14 designers from all around the world.

The forced isolation in spring was also an opportunity for people to nurture relationships with friends and family, and to reconnect in different ways. Paradoxically, distance connected populations, each confronted with the same challenge. Through its annual program of events (Electro Party, European Heritage Days, kids zone at the European Literature Festival), as well as biennial (Festival MétaMusiques) and one-off events (concerts, Care meetings), the Foundation had already adopted this approach towards building relationships.

In our Ateliers du faire (art & craft studios), we promote encounters between different arts that are otherwise too often disconnected. From materials to masterpieces through handicrafts, these studios highlight the process that artists and artisans follow in the creation of their work of art. Open at the end of 2019 and organised around the bronze duo La Cène by Guillaume Bardet, the studios welcomed Collectif Tutti and their transdisciplinary performance Snowball, before they became a key instrument for the Places to be production thanks to the work of associations Cobble and Griff’ du Chas as well as glassblower Jean-Charles Miot, who created works of art made of wood, ceramic, glass and fabric.