Les Arts Décoratifs is a private organization governed by the law of 1901 on not-for-profit associations and recognized as being in the public interest. It originated in 1882, in the wake of the Universal Exhibitions, when a group of collectors banded together with the idea of promoting the applied arts and developing links between industry and culture, design and production.
For many years it was known as the Union centrale des Arts décoratifs (UCAD), but in December 2004 it changed its name to Les Arts Decoratifs while staying true to its original aims of safeguarding the collections, promoting culture, providing art education and professional training, and supporting design.
An original, multi-facetted institution, Les Arts Décoratifs pursues the objectives it was given at the outset: “to keep alive in France the culture of the arts which seek to make useful things beautiful” and to maintain close links with industry, forging numerous partnerships with firms operating in various fields.
The Arts Décoratifs are divided between three major sites in Paris:
• at 107 rue de Rivoli, the Rohan and Marsan wings of the Louvre house the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Library du MAD
• at 63 rue de Monceau, the Musée Nissim de Camondo is installed in the Hôtel Camondo
• and 266 boulevard Raspail has been the home of the Ecole Camondo, a school of design and interior architecture, since 1988 (so-called because it was formerly in the outbuildings of the Hôtel Camondo).
The art and craft workshops known as the Ateliers du Carrousel operate on all three sites.