28 June 2016 / Architecture & Design

Architecture and light art from Paris to Venice

In Paris' 16th arrondissement, a large, but strangely light, steel and glass structure towers above the trees of the Bois de Boulogne. It is an extraordinary building that was originally planned in 2001 to house the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

The project was entrusted to Frank Owen Gehry, one of the world's best known contemporary architects and a leading exponent of Deconstructivist design.

The award-winning Canadian architect is already famous for a number of stunning projects, like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Gehry Tower in Hanover. And for Louis Vuitton he chose to create a majestic glass sailing ship that after 10 years of construction work, was finally opened to the public in 2014.

The customer, Bernard Arnault- Chairman of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy - will remain the owner of the building until 2054, when it will be handed over to the Municipality of Paris.
The complex is incredible. It covers 11,000 square metres with eleven permanent art galleries, spaces for temporary exhibitions and an auditorium for concerts and shows.

The building's 1500 ton steel structure seems to almost float in the air thanks to the building's 12 beautifully curving "sails" that are made from 3600 panels of tempered glass.

The view from the Foundation's terrace is one of the most spectacular in Paris, as it overlooks the Jardin d'Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne. The park is one of the oldest in Paris and includes vintage merry-go-rounds that give it a timeless, fairytale atmosphere.
The result of this startling juxtaposition of nature and architecture, old and new is truly breathtaking.

The Foundation's mission - which is shared incidentally by Leonardo EvolutionsTile - is: to inspire and stimulate artistic production and create an interplay of art and architecturethrough happenings, exhibitions and concerts or other special events, like the installation created by artist Daniel Buren. The latest work by this master of light and colour puts his art in direct contact with Frank Gehry's architecture and the effect is truly amazing.

Daniel Buren's installation L’Observatoire de la Lumiére (The Observatory of Light) has lit up the Foundation's 3,600 glass panels in a perfect fusion of art and performance that suits Gehry's architecture perfectly. «I like this “controlled chaos”», commented Buren.

«Adding colour to this structure will radically change the impression it gives the public. Without actually transforming the building, but working simply on the aspect of glass and the way it curves and dips, will make the shapes of the building look very different, even if nothing has really been changed at all.»

This spectacular project even has its very own exhibition: “Fondation Louis Vuitton Building in Paris by Frank Gehry, with an installation by Daniel Buren”. Curated by Gehry's own studio, the exhibition tells the story of the Foundation's creative and technical genesis through a series of designs, scale models, drawings made by the Gehry Partners Studio and a splendid aerial video.

The exhibition has just opened at the Venice Biennial, in the Espace Louis Vuitton in Calle del Ridotto and will be open to the public from 26th November onwards.
If you happen to be in Paris, on the other hand, Leonardo EvolutionsTile suggests you visit the Vuitton Foundation on a Friday, when the building stays open in the evening, so you can enjoy the beautiful effects of the glass when lit up.
Up until 29th August there will also be numerous events too, including cinema, poetry readings and concerts...

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