Frank Gehry has designed a building that, through its strength and singularity, represents the first artistic step on the part of the Fondation Louis Vuitton. This large vessel covered in twelve glass sails, set on a water garden created for the occasion, blends into the natural environment, amidst the wood and the garden, playing with light and mirror effects.
“Our wish was to conceive a building that would evolve with the passing of the hours and with the changing light so as to create an impression of the ephemeral, and of continual change”. From the very first sketch, the building that Frank Gehry designed for the Fondation Louis Vuitton is its inaugural artistic gesture. It combines all of the architect’s methods, codes and modes of expression and marks a new step in his work. Guided by Proust’s memory, he took his inspiration from the lightness of late 19th-century glass and garden architecture to make his first sketch. The choice of the materials expresses the idea of transparency: a glass shell covers thebody of the building, an assembly of blocks known as the “iceberg”, giving it its volume andmovement.It offers 11 galleries dedicated to the presentation of the collections, contributionsfrom artists and temporary exhibitions. The visitor can complete their tourwith terraces that enjoy exceptional views over Paris
Frank Gehry’s creativity calls for constant technical innovation. Both in the project’s very design and in undertaking the work, the Fondation Louis Vuitton venture has overturned the principles of architecture. The energy and originality of the architectural creation are expressed through the extremely complex shapes and volumes that required real technical and technological prowess to create. The glass roofs, the iceberg and the glass shells were formed using unique pieces, requiring the development of specific technologies for their production. The achievement of this project was awarded several engineering prizes in France and the United States. From the construction site to using the building, the Fondation has worked in a constant high environmental quality approach (HQE®). The Fondation Louis Vuitton project has adopted an exemplary environmental approach and was chosen as a pilot project for drawing up new HQE® guidelines dedicated to cultural buildings. Since the project’s launch, the concern to have a site with a low environmental impact has been placed at the heart of the approach.
Inseparable from the image of its building and encompassing a large-scale artistic project, the Fondation Louis Vuitton looks to form an integral part of the Parisian landscape and become an international benchmark in the years following its inauguration.