La Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris

IMG_8841

IMG_8838

Oops! I fell way behind on posting my Paris adventures!  Let me start again now!

IMG_8983

 

The Louis Vuitton Foundation, in French: La Fondation Louis Vuitton, has its home in a spectacular building in the 16th arrondissement, Paris, France. This building serves as an art museum and cultural center, sponsored by the group LVMH and its subsidiaries. It is run as a legally separate, nonprofit entity as part of LVMH’s promotion of art and culture.  And isn’t the world lucky for all of that!

 

IMG_8982

In 2001, Bernard Arnault, the Chairman of LVMH, met world-renowned architect, Frank Gehry, and told him of plans for a new building for the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne. Suzanne Pagé, then director of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, was named the foundation’s artistic director in charge of developing the museum’s program.

Not everything went according to plan.

The city of Paris, which owns the park, granted a building permit in 2007. In 2011, an association for the safeguard of the Bois de Boulogne won a court battle, as the judge ruled the centre had been built too close to a tiny asphalt road deemed a public right of way.

Opponents to the site had also complained that a new building would disrupt the verdant peace of the historic park.

The city appealed the court decision and eventually a special law was passed by the Assemblée Nationale that the Fondation was in the national interest and “a major work of art for the whole world,” which allowed it to proceed.

IMG_8836

 

IMG_8837

 

I believe I was very fortunate to visit La Fondation on a clear, sunny day (because, believe me…some of the days were cold and cloudy during my visit), and because I was able to see the exhibit from London’s Courtauld Institute.  I’ll post about the exhibit itself another day. My focus today is on the incredible building itself.

 

 

IMG_8840

The Fondation Louis Vuitton is located on prime property in Paris, next to the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne, the famous park on the west side of the Capitol city. Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie opened the Jardin d’Acclimatation in October 1860. They thus provided the Paris they were intent on rebuilding with a landscaped park designed in accordance with the model of English gardens that they so admired.

IMG_8841

The building soars!

IMG_8842

And it frames the sky and the park and city beyond it:

IMG_8920

IMG_8921

IMG_8922

The following paragraphs are taken from the Fondation’s website:

“From an initial sketch drawn on a blank page in a notebook, to the transparent cloud sitting at the edge of the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne, Frank Gehry constantly sought to “design, in Paris, a magnificent vessel symbolising the cultural calling of France.”

:A creator of dreams, he has designed a unique, emblematic and bold building.

Respectful of a history rooted in French culture of the 19th century, Frank Gehry dared to use technological achievements of the 21st century, opening the way for pioneering innovation.”

IMG_8926

“Frank Gehry retained from the 19th century the transparent lightness of glass walls and the taste for walks punctuated by surprises.
“His architecture combines a traditional “art de vivre”, visionary daring and the innovation offered by modern technology.

“From the invention of glass curved to the nearest millimetre for the 3,600 panels that form the Fondation’s twelve sails to the 19,000 panels of Ductal (fibre-reinforced concrete), each one unique, that give the iceberg its immaculate whiteness, and not forgetting a totally new design process, each stage of construction pushed back the boundaries of conventional architecture to create a unique building that is the realisation of a dream.”

IMG_8927

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 15.49.09

 

IMG_8928

 

IMG_8929
“This great architectural exploit has already taken its place among the iconic works of 21st-century architecture. Frank Gehry’s building, which reveals forms never previously imagined until today, is the reflection of the unique, creative and innovative project that is the Fondation Louis Vuitton.

“To produce his first sketches, Frank Gehry took his inspiration from the lightness of late 19th-century glass and garden architecture. The architect then produced numerous models in wood, plastic and aluminium, playing with the lines and shapes, investing his future building with a certain sense of movement. The choice of materials became self-evident: an envelope of glass would cover the body of the building, an assembly of blocks referred to as the “iceberg”, and would give it its volume and its vitality.

“Placed in a basin specially created for the purpose, the building fits easily into the natural environment, between woods and garden, while at the same time playing with light and mirror effects. The final model was then scanned to provide the digital model for the project.”

 

IMG_8930

 

IMG_8931

 

IMG_8932

 

IMG_8936

 

IMG_8937

 

IMG_8938

 

IMG_8939

 

IMG_8940

 

IMG_8941

 

IMG_8943

 

IMG_8945

 

IMG_8953

IMG_8954

 

 

 

Women explorers: Marianne North

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 12.46.26

It wasn’t uncommon for early women explorers to have a taste for solitude. Take Marianne North, the Englishwoman who in the 1800s circumnavigated the globe unaccompanied, spending thirteen years traveling and skirting Victorian convention.

Her paintings of flowers and landscapes hang at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, outside central London.

1*6rFP0V9KCOWJFoyM7L3yfg

In her autobiography she recounts her travels, which she didn’t begin until she was forty.

In Nainital in the Himalayas in India’s Uttarakhand state, she liked sitting in the sun.

In Philadelphia, she walked the parks and Zoological Gardens enjoying idle days.

In the Bunya Mountains of Queensland, Australia, she said she enjoyed “my entire solitude through the grand forest alone.” Today, a genus of tree and several plant species are named for her.**

You can see North’s work here: https://www.kew.org/mng/gallery/

**Rosenbloom, Stephanie. Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude, Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.