Former Bourse de Commerce gets a new $195 million uplit to an art museum.
French Billionaire François Pinault plans to showcase his own contemporary art collection in and around Paris in style. His first plan was to build his iconic structural design on an abandoned island on River Seine. Unfortunately, a project of such magnitude faced planning and legal rows proving impossible thus forcing the tycoon to shift his entire collection to Venice.
François’ initial dream will come true after receiving the go-ahead to open a private museum in the former 18th-century bourse de commerce at Les Halles in central Paris. This former stock exchange building has been undergoing a new facelift makeover led by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Anto and supported by architects from Paris and the NeM Architects Agency. The expansive space covers over 10,000 square meters (over 100,000 square feet).
Back in 2004 when Pinault announced his plans for opening a private museum on the Île Seguin in Paris, many expressed skepticism. The Guardian even labeled him as the Saatchi of the Seine.
Since 2004, Paris has also ushered in new construction projects such as “the Iceberg” designed by renowned American architect Frank Gehry, in the Bois de Boulogne. This structure of transparent yet artistic glass was commissioned by Bernard Arnault, president of the luxury brand LVMH and France’s richest man. The structure floats over one of the oldest parks in Paris, the Jardin d’Acclimatation.
François Pinault is a renowned businessman with a fortune of $US42.3 billion, earning him the third spot on the Forbes 2021 list of richest people in France. He founded luxury conglomerate Kering which is the parent company of Saint Laurent and Gucci, among others.
CNN reports that the first exhibition at the museum will be titled “Ouverture” akin to the symphonic piece sung at the start of an opera. Other works presented by international artists such as Marlene Dumas, Kerry James Marshall, Cindy Sherman, and Luc Tuymans. Pinault described its debut as a “manifesto of the values” he had always championed for.
The museum is a walking distance from the Louvre, dating back to the 18th century. Over the years the structure has undergone several renovations. Its original circular shape was curved in 1767 when it was the grains exchange center for the city, particularly wheat. A central concrete cylinder has been added in the center of the museum, right beneath the building’s signature cupola as a symbolic link between the past, present, and future.