November 6, 2014

The LVMH foundation - a place to play

It is the talk of the town: the Louis Vuitton Foundation commissioned by LVMH chief Bernard Arnault and designed by world renowned architect Franck Gehry who conceived a radiant tour de force wrapped in swirling glass sails.

Since I had missed the official opening end of October, I decided not to waste any more time and drummed my Flaneuses girlfriends together to explore the glass sailboat standing in the middle of the Bois de Bologne... or is it an iceberg? Depending which way you look at this colossal building, it was meant to represent either one or the other.

Paris has outdown itself again. Just when you thought you've seen it all, the city surprises you with something new and refeshing but without ever losing its historical or cultural reference.

For generations, the Jardin d’Acclimatation in Paris’s Bois de Boulogne park has captured imaginations with amusements both nostalgic and novel. Opened in 1860 by Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie, the Jardin, a zoological garden, has, at various points in its history, beckoned visitors with a house of mirrors, an enchanted river ride, a puppet theatre, games of every description, and, of course, a merry menagerie.

For this project Gehry found inspiration in soaring glass-and-steel structures of the 19th century, including the Jardin’s own Palmarium, a lavish showcase for exotic trees, plants, and birds that was built on the site in 1893 and demolished in 1934.

Five girlfriends were bound to start chattering and not pay enough attention to the works of art, but we did wonder around the eleven different galleries and admired the impressive chefs d'oeuvre, though they seemed few in numbers given the size of the museum.

In my opinion, this cultural institution expands beyond the scope of a typical art museum and the building is open to your own experimentation.

Personally, I enjoyed exploring the different external levels, ascending and deciding on various staircases, wondering where they would lead me to. After all, why do people come to the "Jardin" if not to play?

It is a vessel, a fish, a sailing boat, a cloud

Following the staircase to the next level

The sails are held up by a complex nest of steel columns and timber beams

Tour Montparnasse is playing hide&seek behind the Tour Eiffel

View onto La Défense

Dwindling depths

San Jordi would love this

Sporting a glittering LV logo at the front door

One of the massing models on show in the exhibition...

... before the glass sails were added

The original sketch where it all started

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