Published  06/11/2006

Cocooning Paris

Cocooning Paris

The £70 million glass museum to house the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Group's newly planned art gallery has been commissioned by Bernard Arnaud, president of the group. Arnaud has been claimed to be the richest man in France, with an estimated personal fortune of up to £10 billion. The building is Arnaud's personal dreamboat and who better to design it than Frank Gehry, hyperactive magician of built form. The site will be in the Bois de Boulogne. This seems a sublime, greensward site for Gehry, and for what he himself has described as 'a heavenly assignment' for a long-standing Paris lover. The glass building has been interpreted as a great cocoon for art, and will be more organic and less rigidly geometric than the Louvre's glass pyramid. For Monsieur Arnaud, there is also a firmly social agenda to bring modern and classical art closer to the public. The museum is planned to open in 2010. For Paris, it can be said to replace the Francois Pinault collection and kitty, which suddenly last summer decamped to Venice to the Palazzo Grassi on the Grand Canal to great consternation in the Paris institutional world. Gehry, it is reported, sees the building as one that must appeal essentially to 'la jeunesse de Paris.'

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