FONDATION LOUIS VUITTON: Architecture-porn

The paper model before construction of the Fondation.
The paper model before construction of the Fondation.

Designed by the renowned architect, Frank Gehry, whose works include Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, or the famous Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Mr. Gehry is usually referred as a “starchitect” whose works are well anticipated by the public to be extravagant regardless of the function and budget. Coincidentally, his stardom fits well with Louis Vuitton image. Louis Vuitton bags are functional and are highly valued for the endurance quality and materials which are endorsed by the house’s travel spirit back in the early years when Louis Vuitton the man traveled from a small town Jura to Paris on foot. These days, we witness the brand’s products shifting itself to become an accessory for showcase purpose rather than its function which is appreciated still. Fondation Louis Vuitton was created basing on the house’s contemporary position in the fashion world of beautifying, style-upgrading the people using it, in this case, the city of Paris.

Walkway from Jardin d'Acclaimatation.
Walkway from Jardin d’Acclaimatation.

The glass-sailed structure stands proudly next to Jardin d’Acclamatation, a children park, which is 10 minutes away from the Metro station of Les Sablons, the easiest and cheapest access. I stopped by the ticket office by exact 10 AM, the time this building opens for public visit, but the crowd was there lining up and anticipating. It took approximately 20 minutes to buy a reduced ticket for young fellows under 26. Similarly to other art gallery or museums across Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton offers reduced price for artists, teachers and under 26 of €10 as well as students, job seekers, and elderly, at €5, while the full price is at €14. With €1, you can travel on the bling bling shuttle bus of the Fondation from Place Charles de Gaulle departing every 15 minutes during opening hours of the attraction.

LV Initials on the design.
LV Initials on the design.

The exhibits of this Fondation varies from contemporary arts to classical artistic works. During my visit in April, I was able to visit the Picasso’s sculptures and paintings. Contemporary arts are displayed inside the building using natural lighting. One mesmerizing permanent work of art is the Thomas Schütte – Mann in Matsch (Man in Mud) 2009. Other side decoration includes giant rose figurine near Le Frank restaurant. Cannot help falling in love with every piece of Gehry’s work.
The restaurant in Fondation Louis Vuitton captures the elements of aquatic life fusing it with Louis Vuitton’s travel spirit represented by the LV trunks. The carps floating in the restaurant space amplify the whole building natural metaphors. With the glass sailed design floating on a cascade, now you can see artificial fish swimming in the air.The harmony of outer architectural design and interior one is there, enforced strongly by the brand and the architect himself.

“Le Frank” – seemingly Gehry’s signature in the building.

Besides the permanent, loaned and rotating exhibits, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is the most solid and impressive exhibits itself. There are two main on ground point of view for the building, from the Jardin d’Acclamatation or from Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi. This article’s cover photo is from the park view, you can find the other view of the Fondation in my previous Paris article. In Louis Vuitton representative’s explanation, the design is inspired by the capricious structures of the Jardin d’Acclimatation. The architectural design offers visitors two visual experiences, the internal art contemplation and the overview of Paris from the roof terrace, where you can see the Eiffel Tower from afar.

Fondation Louis Vuitton adopts a multitude of nature and geology metaphors, with the building itself stands on a sunken lake, where an artificial cascade descends. The glass sails shelters the interior while some other sails exist as pure decoration. The glass sails on the water themed foundation can be representative for the ship sailing up the cascade. The metaphor is confirmed when I was in the design where winds are captured by the sails, blown naturally.

The gallery below dedicates to the Fondation’s architectural charm. With Gehry’s magic, the building possesses artistic in every angles which are showcased in the most random photos ever captured by Coeur, our author.

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Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetThe Fondation

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