La Fondation Louis Vuitton is a contemporary art museum and cultural center in Paris designed by Frank Gehry. The conceptual idea was that of creating an architectural vessel anchored in a sea of grass and trees in Bois de Boulogne, in the western part of Paris.
This time Gehry experimented with glass in reproposing his curvaceous architectural language covering the museum’s core with twelve, all different and specifically curved, gigantic glass sails.
The museum opened in 2014 but only recently, from May 2016, the architecture became an artwork itself thanks to the temporary work “ Observatory of Light” of the french artist Daniel Buren. The big external sails are covered by thirteen different brightly coloured filters positioned on the glass surface in a chequerboard pattern. The way natural light reflects on the multicoloured surface makes both the exterior and interior constantly changing.
My first reaction to the site was to imagine a way to bring the garden and nature into the galleries. Since there is a great architectural tradition in Paris of making glass buildings like the Grand Palais and the greenhouses in the Jardin des Plantes, that gave me the idea of turning the museum into a greenhouse.
The project is a dream, so the first idea was to create a dream. I wanted to bring to life a dream for Bernard Arnault, who has been dreaming about this. The idea of creating a glass building that is transparent, ephemeral, and like a cloud is difficult to achieve in architecture.
The idea for me is to have light come in, but not feel intrusive, not feel like sunlight…but a sense of the light which makes you feel better.
The issue for me is: can you make rectilinear galleries that have passion, feeling, and are not sterilized containers? When you walk into a room there’s a feeling of the space, and then you put art in it and the art is enhanced by this feeling. When the feeling of the space is sterile, then you have to fight that to see the art.
Check another Frank Gehry’s masterpiece: the Dancing House in Prague
All photos and words by Nancy Da Campo