Collection Pinault and Fondation Louis Vuitton: A Different Vision of Architecture

Collection Pinault and Fondation Louis Vuitton: A Different Vision of Architecture
The same way Bernard Arnault, founder of the LVMH conglomerate, and François Pinault, founder of Kering, vie for the international luxury market, they can now translate to another competitive terrain: contemporary art, exhibited at their respective museums, the Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Bourse de Commerce – Collection Pinault in Paris. The two businessmen, besides an uncanny business acumen, also share a passion for art that has led them to amass vast collections. Pinault, now 84, decided early on that he would share it with the public. His project to open a museum in Paris suffered several setbacks, and only came to fruition in May this year, with the grand opening of the Bourse de Commerce. Water Ponds at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Photo: Sarah Bartesaghi Truong The Bourse de Commerce has been redesigned by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Ando, born in Japan in 1941, is a self-taught architect. His work is very much inspired by Shintoism but his other sources of inspiration include Le Corbusier. He had already worked with Pinault on the revamp of Punta della Dogana in Venice, Italy, where Pinault’s collection had found a home in 2008 after his project on the Ile Seguin in Boulogne-Billancourt, on the outskirts of Paris, was abandoned. Both revamps required a sympathetic approach, as they implied restoring listed buildings, under the watchful eyes of the local authorities that retain ownership of them. As one penetrates the Bourse (formerly home to the Grains Exchange), the brutalist concrete cylinder the architect erected in the existing circular building and the original frescoes decorating the walls just beneath the glass dome are in stark contrast. But, as is often the case with Ando’s design, the natural light flooding the space from the skylight plays a fundamental role in harmonizing the contrasting styles. The central space is vast but does not feel overwhelming, as the concrete wall feels more like a cocoon than an enclosure. Main Atrium at the Bourse de Commerce. Photo: Sarah Bartesaghi Truong The exhibition spaces fitted on the sides obey the law of the “White Cube” so dear to curators and museum directors, but on the lower ground floor, Ando has had more free rein in designing the auditorium, with a marked interplay between full and empty spaces and between darkness and light.

Lead photo credit : Fondation Louis Vuitton. Photo: Sarah Bartesaghi Truong

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Sarah Bartesaghi Truong has lived, studied and worked in Milan, Paris and London. Her lifelong passion for art in all its forms and her entrepreneurial dreams were the catalyst for a career change: she left the world of investment banking to go back to school, at the Sotheby’s Institute of London. Ten years ago, she moved back to Paris, the ideal location for an art-lover. As an Italian in Paris, she decided she would keep playing the tourist in her adoptive home town, always on the lookout for the many wonders the French capital has to offer to the curious explorer. VeniVidiParis, the company she founded, plans curated itineraries in the French capital and its vicinity for travellers wishing to discover the city’s vibrant art scene, but not only. Take a look at her recent discoveries on her Instagram feed, @venividiparis, or contact her at for help planning your next Parisian vacation.