Backed by the Victor Hugo Centre Working Group, the work would see the former States offices turned into a interpretation centre/museum, with a flexible exhibition, meeting and performance space, plus an education study centre.
‘This exciting and ambitious project will produce educational, cultural, tourism and economic benefits for Guernsey,’ said David De La Mare, managing director of DLM Architects, the firm which has been appointed.
It was announced at the start of September by Economic Development president Neil Inder that talks had started with the Hugo working group, which he anticipated would be raising its own funds for the project.
‘This looks like an exciting opportunity with the potential to develop a new, high-quality tourist attraction that celebrates the life and works of Victor Hugo in the form of a Victor Hugo Centre in Guernsey,’ he told the States.
Project director Larry Malcic, pictured, will work with DLM on the proposals, along with exhibition designers Casson Mann. It is intended that the museum element will celebrate how Hugo’s work, life and art were influenced by Guernsey, along with his literary and humanitarian legacy, said the architects.
The aim is for the centre to become a hub and meeting place, ‘a lively place in St Peter Port where the contemporary creative community can display their talent and exhibit their work, inspired by both the Island itself and Hugo’s life and work’.
‘We’re excited and honoured to have the opportunity to work on this iconic landmark building, and to be a part of a fantastic team with the energy and vision to deliver a unique place that will benefit the entire community for generations,’ said DLM’s managing director .
Mr Malcic added: ‘Our objective is raising Guernsey’s cultural profile at home and abroad using Victor Hugo and the inspiration that Guernsey gave to him.’
The working group had started negotiating with the States for the building conversion.
‘In order to do that effectively we need to do due diligence,’ Mr Malcic said.
This included having a survey and getting designs drawn up.
‘Once we have more visible and tangible proposals, it gives us a far better ability to go and talk to people about it.’
After this, attention could turn to fundraising, said Mr Malcic.