It’s hard to miss the distinctive rainbow-coloured glass cube that houses Centre Pompidou Malaga, right on the Muelle Uno port. The "pop-up" Pompidou museum is the only branch of the world-famous Paris art institution outside of France, and it joins a number of new museums in Malaga that have helped make it a cultural capital of Europe. Among these are the Picasso Museum, the Centre for Contemporary Art (CAC), and the Museo Carmen Thyssen, all located within walking distance of the Pompidou Centre.
The 6,000-square-foot space is divided into three parts: a museum consisting of artworks on loan from the George Pompidou National Centre of Art and Culture, a space designated for temporary exhibitions, and a third space for workshops aimed at children and young people.
Grab an audio guide and wander down the wide white staircase that takes you to the entrance to the Pompidou. Spend a couple of hours checking out the magnificent paintings, thought-provoking video projections and sculptures throughout the space.
Travel tip: Like many museums in the city, there’s free entry to the Pompidou Centre on Sunday afternoons from 4pm until closing.
Located mostly underground about a five-minute walk from the historic centre of Malaga, this museum-cum-cultural-centre features dozens of works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Francis Bacon and Rene Magritte, as well as rotating exhibitions and film screenings. The permanent collection at the Centre Pompidou Malaga is divided into five thematic sections, which are translated from Spanish as:
1. The metamorphosis
2. The body in pieces
3. The politic body
4. Self portraits
5. The man without a face
Almost more impressive than the contents of Centre Pompidou Malaga is the exterior. ‘El Cubo’ (the cube) was designed by architects Francisco Javier Pérez de la Fuente and Juan Antonio Marín Malavé, and the coloured panels that adorn the cube were created by French conceptual artist Daniel Buren. Centre Pompidou officially opened to the public by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in 2015. With its unique structure made from multi-coloured glass squares, it has quickly become a favourite spot for tourists capturing photos of the city. Stand near Paseo de la Farola with your back towards the Pompidou Centre to get an epic selfie with the museum, the port and La Noria (the ferris wheel) in the background.
As the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, Malaga has long been a centre for artistic innovation. But it wasn’t until recent years that the city began earning a reputation for top-notch museums and galleries. This is mostly thanks to the current mayor of Malaga, Francisco De La Torre, who's been a major driving force behind the city’s cultural regeneration. The city has reportedly spent €100million during his 15 years in charge, bringing the total number of museums up to 37. For a mid-sized city with a population of under 600,000, that’s no mean feat!
Under De La Torre, the city of Malaga invested about €7million to build this outcrop of the Pompidou, and they apparently pay the French museum €1.5million a year in order to use the Pompidou brand name and house its collections in Malaga.
The Malaga Port Cube was initially supposed to be open for five years, according to the agreement between De la Torre and Alain Seban, the president of the Pompidou Centre. However it was announced in February that it will stay open until 2025 - so there is plenty of time for you to plan a trip to Malaga to see it!
Georges Pompidou was the Prime Minister of France from 1962 to 1968 and the President of the country from 1969 to 1974, when he died. In 1969, Pompidou hatched an idea to create a brand new type of cultural centre on a vacant lot in Paris. This would be the legacy he left behind, forever associating his name with art and innovation.
Pompidou launched a world-wide architectural competition to find someone to design the building, opening the contest to 681 competitors from 49 different countries. The winners were a team of three: Richard Rogers from Britain, and Italians Renzo Piano and Gianfranco Franchini. It was officially opened in 1977 and has drawn millions of visitors ever since.
Today, there are three Pompidou centres in the world: the original Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Centre Pompidou-Metz just outside Paris, and Spain's Centre Pompidou Malaga.
The future looks bright for this art institution too. Centre Pompido recenty announced plans to open a a pop-up Pompidou Centre in Mexico some time in the coming years, as well as one in Brussels called the KANAL-Centre Pompidou, which will be housed in a former Citroën factory.
The Pompidou is situated on Muelle Uno, a port incorporating numerous popular shops and restaurants, sort of like an outdoor mall. Just nextdoor to the museum is Artsenal, a cultural space/bar that serves up jamon and beer in a pleasant outdoor setting. After your museum visit, it might be nice to grab a seat here, enjoy some tapas and watch as the cruise ships moor in the harbour.
El Cubo is also just a hop, skip and a jump away from Malagueta, Malaga’s city beach, so there’s no excuse not to visit on your way to soak up some sun (or on your way back to your hotel).
If you’re visiting by car, the museum is directly above a large car park with more than 740 spaces. This is a good spot to leave your car if you want to explore the city, spend some time on the beach and see all the sites in Malaga.
Note: The Centre Pompidou Malaga is closed on Tuesdays.
January 2nd to December 31st
Pasaje Doctor Carrillo Casaux