Fondation Louis Vuitton, Extraordinary Art in an Architectural Masterpiece


Recently created at the initiative of Bernard Arnault by American megaarchitect Frank Gehry, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, located in Paris, supports French and international contemporary artistic creation and continues in 2016 to make art and culture accessible to as many people as possible.


Opened on Monday, 20 October 2014 by French President Fran.ois Hollande and Bernard Arnault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LVMH, the Fondation Louis Vuitton asserts and continues LVMH and Louis Vuitton’s commitment to sponsoring the arts and culture. It enhances the heritage of Paris with a monument that symbolises 21st century architecture.


Frank Gehry designed the exceptional building which, through its creativity and daring, represents the first work of art at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Rising among the century-old trees of the Jardin d’Acclimatation, standing on a mirror of water, it integrates harmoniously with its natural wooded surroundings, with which the building initiates a real dialogue.


“To reflect a constantly changing world, we wanted to design a building that evolves depending on the time of day and the light, in order to create an impression of intangibility and continual transformation,” explains Frank Gehry. A host of exceptional technological innovations allowed the building’s artistic ambition to be achieved. Both in the design of the concept itself and the approach to construction work, the Fondation Louis Vuitton project has turned the principles of architecture upside down. The Fondation Louis Vuitton was chosen as a pilot project for the creation of a new HQE® standard (High Environmental Quality). A permanent collection, temporary exhibits, artistic commissions and many multidisciplinary events – musical performances in particular – are on offer at the Fondation Louis Vuitton.


From autumn 2014 to spring 2015, the Fondation opened in several phases, each based on an exhibition, a specific selection from the collection made up of both works belonging to the Fondation and Bernard Arnault’s personal collection, as well as various multidisciplinary events. The Fondation’s collection, whose artistic direction is overseen by Suzanne Pagé, is designed from a selection guided by Bernard Arnault and includes works by Gerhard Richter, Thomas Schütte, Pierre Huyghe, Bertrand Lavier, Christian Boltanski and Frank Stella.


Commissions have been awarded to several internationally renowned artists incuding Ellsworth Kelly, Olafur Eliasson, Taryn Simon, Sarah Morris and Cerith Wyn Evans.


With regards to the temporary collections, Contact a monographic exhibition by Olafur Eliasson was presented during the winter of 2015. In spring 2015, the Keys to Passion exhibition brought together a collection of exceptional works, some of which were on loan from the world’s most important museums. Bentu, an exhibition by Chinese artists followed in early 2016, running for nearly half a year, then Daniel Buren’s Observatory of Light show. From October 2016 to late February 2017, Icons of Modern Art from the Shchukin Collection will show.


Music occupies a central position in the life of the Fondation Louis Vuitton. The Auditorium hosts encounters between musicians and artists from all disciplines. The Fondation’s artistic programme illustrates Frank Gehry’s intention “to design a magnificent vessel in Paris that symbolises France’s cultural vocation”.


To showcase the creative process behind this stunning edifice, the Fondation Louis Vuitton has opened a new permanent exhibition, an Architectural Journey that explores how the Fondation developed. Prepared in collaboration with Frank Gehry’s studio in Los Angeles, the exhibit proposes a unique visual experience, including video projections, as visitors discover the sole staircase where the steel structural walls have been left exposed. The successive landings present the different stages of the project, from the initial sketches to the final scale models, detailing the construction, materials, design, as well as the context that spawned this incredible building.


Just two years after its inauguration, the Fondation Louis Vuitton has become a new architectural icon in Paris and a vibrant nexus of French culture and artistic creativity. With the instantly recognisable futuristic lines of its 12 glass sails, the building conceived by architect Frank Gehry evokes future artistic journeys that pay tribute to France for all its visitors. As Gehry said: “I dream of designing a magnificent vessel for Paris that symbolises France’s profound cultural vocation.”


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