Project information

Projet Lumière(s)

Projet Lumière(s) aims at expanding the Institut français's programme like never before, by creating a boutique cinema and refurbishing the reception spaces, the Salons.

Emerging artists, cross-cultural collaborations and learning opportunities are key focuses.


Charity information: The Friends of The French Institute

The Friends of The French Institute logo
  • Need


    In our daily mission, we care about finding the best ways to welcome and bring together all kinds of people: families, elders, students, movie stars, emerging artists, primary French learners, audiences with reduced mobility, high level speakers…

    This requires flexibility and diversity in our programme.

    A major obstacle to the diversification of the Institut’s offer is the remaining obsolescence of key spaces within our walls, namely the Salons and the ‘small room’ (Petite Salle).


    Projet Lumière(s) will span two years, from 2017 to 2019 and implement three interrelated goals:

    * Initiating a new dynamic by funding original events for two years: the Beyond Words Festival, lunchtime concerts, workshops…

    * Refurbishing the Salons during winter 2017

    * Building a 34-seats cinema in the Petite Salle during summer 2018, to open for back-to-school season 2018

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Expanding our array of activities


    » In the Salons: Chamber music & youth concerts; school activities; networking & cocktail receptions; interviews & press conferences; debates
    » In the boutique cinema: Short films, documentaries, TV series, visual arts, animation, school projects, young directors’ projects
    » At the Institut at large: The South Ken Kids Festival , the brand new Beyond Words festival, an artist residence in autumn

    What success will look like

    > Increase in frequentation (10,000 more visitors per year)
    > General diversification of the public

    Aim 2

    The renovation of the reception spaces ‘Les Salons’


    » Refurbishment: New furniture, a kitchen fit for catering, restoration of the Pleyel Piano, new sound system, improved security and accessibility
    » Construction work: Parquet floor, renovation of the large Art Deco windows

    What success will look like

    > Appealing and functional final realisation
    > Multiplication of school activities
    > Increase in usage frequency and versatility
    > Better service and security

    Aim 3

    The creation of a new 34-seats cinema


    » Construction work, seats, screen, sound system and lights, access for people with impaired mobility

    What success will look like

    > 700 new screenings per year
    > Betterment of the pricing policy (e.g. a new senior fare)
    > Appealing to a young and creative audience
    > Unique and competitive offer

  • Impact


    > More encounters between artists and the public

    > A more socially diverse audience

    > Creation of a classical music offering with an emphasis on accessibility and learning

    > A better circulation within our spaces (thus favouring the discovery of our other activities)

    > After two years, financial capacity to keep funding the new programme thanks to the cinema’s revenue, and occasional privatisation of the Salons and cinema room


    We will achieve this project step-by-step by 2019, securing funding before launching each phase of the works. Risks of falling behind schedule are minimal due to the advancement of the campaign and this progressive approach.


    Donors to this project will receive an annual report on the project detailing past acheivements, ongoing and forthcoming activities, as well as any possible changes that have been made to the project plans.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £1,140,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £175,000 Cultural Activities A multitude of new artistic genres, opportunities for learning and socialisation
      £440,000 Les Salons Refurbishing the reception rooms, 'Les Salons'
      £525,000 Ciné Lumière II Creating a brand new boutique cinema room
  • Background


    Created in 1910, the Institut français du Royaume-Uni is hosted by a unique Art Deco building. It is located in South Kensington, just a breath away from the Natural History Museum and the V&A.

    Thanks to previous campaigns, the Institut’s building is home to a renovated media library, a children’s library, and a 230 seats cinema room, which already attracts 56,000 spectators per year, and hosts numerous festivals.

    The Institut français totalises 200,000 visitors, of which 50% are British.


    Projet Lumière(s) aims at:

    1) continuing the Institut’s successful efforts to open its doors to a younger audience, including children and students attending underpriviledged schools

    2) attracting audiences with niche or specific interests, both through the more diverse programme, and by enabling social gatherings at the Institut with club meetings, workshops, networking events and debates.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Institut français exists for anyone who is…

    -a music lover, a book worm, a movie buff or a foodie

    -trying to brush up on their French but doesn’t fancy crossing the Channel every other Saturday

    -looking for a quiet spot to study or a new adventure

    -yearning to escape in a capsule made of tales, films and music from elsewhere

    Now more than ever, we stand for upkeeping an inclusive space where an open dialogue between cultures lives on.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    HE Mrs Sylvie Bermann

    French Ambassador to the United Kingdom

    Mrs LorèNe Lemor

    Acting Cultural Counselor and Director of the Institut français du Royaume-Uni

    Mr Marc Mourre

    Chairman of 'The Friends of the French Institute' trust

    Mrs Caroline Drevait

    Development Assistant at the Institut français du Royaume-Uni

These ‘lumières’ - whether they are those of cinema or enlightened minds - must be treasured. Creating a new home within the Institut's premises will encourage increased dialogue and challenge ideas.

Lambert Wilson - French actor, singer and Patron of Projet Lumière(s)