The building is home to one of the largest foundations owned by a private company in Europe – the result of LVMH’s generous patronage policy – and reveals the company’s long history of supporting artists.Frank Gehry visited the site in 2002: “I imagined Marcel Proust, strolling around the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the 19th century. I never dreamed of anything other than a glass building, like the Grand Palais in Paris,” he recalls. He began sketching his first designs, imagining, on a scrap of paper, a cloud of glass. A pure folly, and one that would require perseverance and patience to achieve. The president of LVMH had to overcome a series of administrative, legal and, above all, technical obstacles before the building became reality, and over one hundred talented engineers were brought in to advise the architect, with help from Dassault Systèmes. Thirty patents for technological innovations were filed as part of the design process. The 12,500 sq.m. glass structure consists of 3,600 individual panels, each molded to measure – a revolutionary mechanical treatment in itself – and interspersed with large larch pillars, sourced from the Black Forest, crossed by steel structures and supported by panels of Ductal, a white concrete that’s as soft as skin. Strength, gentleness and light are three words that perfectly sum up this building. The project was launched in 2006, the first stone was laid in 2008 and the foundation opens its doors six years later. “I designed the building several years ago, so when I look at it now, there are some things I would change. But it’s too late now!” says Gehry mischievously. Sporting straight walls, ceilings at right angles, and natural light wells, the foundation’s twelve exhibition rooms, each a different size, provide artists with a “white cube” in which to display their work. The building is designed to be flexible and in constant motion, just like the contemporary art scene.
Fondation Louis Vuitton Between art and audacity
It has to be an emotional experience for the public