A New Vision in Paris: The Louis Vuitton Foundation

The Louis Vuitton Foundation building has recently being unveiled in the Bois de Boulogne in the west of Paris. The magnificent structure will function as an art museum and cultural centre, housing a permanent exhibit of the foundation’s collection of contemporary art, alongside temporary exhibitions of all that is dynamic in the field of modern art.

Already acknowledged as the one the world’s great art cities, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is now poised to be one of the most vibrant artistic hubs in the entire city of Paris, a testament to the creative vision of two individuals - Bernard Arnault the Chairman and CEO of the LVMH luxury goods conglomerate and American ‘starchitect’ Frank Gehry.

The Louis Vuitton Foundation’s genesis began in 2001 with Arnault and Gehry meeting to discuss the possibility of collaborating on the construction of the immense structure. In a city with a celebrated visual history the overtly modernist form seemed truly revolutionary and despite reactionary opposition from traditionalists throughout Paris, it was decided by authorities that the daring venture would be to the advantage of the national interest.

An audacious structure; 11 floors high and totaling 41,441 square feet, a formation of glistening glass whose fluted diaphanous sails recall simultaneously the ephemeral feel of a cloud or iceberg as much as the hard futuristic lines of a spaceship. While initially inspired by the Grand Palais and other glass structures in Paris, the building in the hands of Frank Gehry manifests a uniquely grand sense of space utilizing the singular form provided by the arching sails to create dynamics both intimate and grand, directing the viewer’s attention to both the beautiful art housed within and to the vistas of Paris that lie outside.
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