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Engel & Völkers Paris > Blog > The Louis Vuitton Foundation, and its commitment to art and culture

The Louis Vuitton Foundation, and its commitment to art and culture

Founded in 2006 by the LVMH Group, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is a striking building with glass and steel sails in the heart of Bois de Boulogne, near the Jardin d'Acclimatation. This innovative architectural work bears witness to the Foundation's philanthropic activities and the ambitious missions it has set itself.

- Engel & Völkers Paris - Fondation Louis Vuitton - source photo : Iwan Baan

An exceptional project for contemporary art

Opened October 20, 2014, by Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, and the President of the Republic, François Hollande, the Louis Vuitton Foundation affirms its commitment to promoting contemporary art by making it accessible to the wider public. An educational mission to familiarise young audiences with contemporary art space lies at the heart of the Foundation's activities. 

Exposing, enhancing, supporting and promoting the creators of the present day through multidisciplinary events and a constant dialogue between artists and the public are the fundamental priorities of this emblematic museum, now considered one of the jewels of Parisian heritage. A place of debate, reflection and symposiums, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is part of the tradition of great philanthropic activities that have stimulated artistic creation and made it possible for the general public to have access to it.

- Engel & Völkers Paris - Fondation Louis Vuitton, Bernard Arnault et Frank Gehry - source photo : Forgemind ArchiMedia

Technical innovations in the service of an audacious architecture

The Louis Vuitton Foundation is the result of a close collaboration between Bernard Arnault and Frank Gehry, the internationally renowned architect, winner of the Pritzker Prize (the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Architecture) who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Work began in March 2008 and the last stone was laid on December 18, 2013. The building was opened to the public on October 27, 2014. 

Inspired by nineteenth-century architecture with its glass and steel structures, Frank Gehry imagined a building that plays with superimpositions, reflections, transparencies and light and where the visitor is surprised at every step. Twelve glass sails, billowing in the wind, envelop the "iceberg", an assembly of blocks made of white fibre-reinforced concrete, the Ductal, which constitutes the body of the building. The glass was made to measure in a specific furnace according to the different curvatures required by the architect. The construction of the building was a real technological challenge, flying in the face of all the principles of classical architecture. The complexity of the shapes devised by Frank Gehry and their layout necessitated the systematic use of the Digital Project software, a 3D software produced by aeronautics, by all the teams collaborating on the project. Environmental concerns were also taken into account in an exemplary manner at all stages of the project. This magnificent glass sailboat, with a height of 40 metres, placed on a mirror of water, will return to the City of Paris at the end of the 55 years granted by the occupancy agreement from January 1, 2007.

- Engel & Völkers Paris - Fondation Louis Vuitton - source photo : Ninara

News from the Louis Vuitton Foundation

Eleven exhibition galleries, dedicated to contemporary art, and an auditorium with 400 seats are spread over the 3850 m2 of museography space. The collection, in perpetual development, is currently organised around 71 artists and 150 works, created from the 60s. The commitment to contemporary creation is sustained by orders given to artists specifically for the Foundation. The works take on a variety of artistic forms, such as a video walk, a light path, a sound creation, a decorative installation ... and fit into the spaces created by Frank Gehry, reflecting the creators' view of the architect's work. 

From 26 April to 28 August 2017, two temporary exhibitions are presented under the title "Art/Afrique. Le Nouvel Atelier" (Art/Africa: The New Workshop). This is the exhibition "Les Initiés" (The Insiders), which includes works from the collection of Jean Pigozzi and the exhibition "Etre là" (Being There) devoted to South Africa. At the same time, on 24th and 25th of June, the novelist Alain Mabanckou will have carte blanche to "Think, talk, tell and play Africa", a programme of meetings, readings, stories, poems. Courses and workshops, in connection with the programme, are regularly offered to children and teenagers. 

These activities allow young audiences to take a sensitive and playful approach to the museum space, the creative process and contemporary art. Micro-visits, events, sign language visits, visits to school groups with a guide, resource centre, architectural walks ... thanks to the diversity and richness of the activities it offers, the Louis Vuitton Foundation successfully implements a genuine mission of general interest, aimed at developing the public's curiosity and interest in the multiple forms of modern art.

Read also : Why live in Montmartre ? 

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