LOUIS VUITTON — Of Lights and Wonders

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Since May 11th, 2016, Frank Gehry’s inspirational Fondation Louis Vuitton building in Paris has been hosting a dazzling glass installation by French conceptual artist, Daniel Buren. Titled L’Observatoire de la Lumière (Observatory of Light), the project is in line with Fondation Louis Vuitton’s commitment to contemporary creation and encouragement of innovative encounters with its architecture.

Meticulously developed to work in sync with the building’s twelve classic Gehry-style glass volumes, which are known as ‘sails’ and the emblematic feature of the building, Buren’s magnificent installation will see some 3,600 pieces of glass alongside a stunning array of colored filters that are broken up at equal intervals from one another, by alternating white and blank stripes perpendicular to the ground. Now, the once colorless paneled exterior is given a spectacular makeover through the articulation of light and interplay of thirteen selected colors.

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Daniel Buren has designed a grandiose project, pertinent and enchanting, the result of a real dialogue with Frank Gehry and his building. His work responds magnificently to the architecture, in line with his approach, going back to the 1970s, that sees a coming together of colors, transparency and light
— BERNARD ARNAULT, PRESIDENT OF THE FONDATION LOUIS VUITTON
Daniel Buren photographed by Martin Argyroglo in Paris 2016 for Foundation Louis Vuitton

Daniel Buren photographed by Martin Argyroglo in Paris 2016 for Foundation Louis Vuitton

Making use of space and hues, the art piece is arranged to create the illusion of ever-changing forms, appearing and disappearing, with the time of day and season. Also, thanks to the light entering the building through these colored filters, the projections, reflections, transparencies and contrasts, both inside and outside, will enhance the interior spaces, changing its spatial qualities. 

“Daniel Buren has designed a grandiose project, pertinent and enchanting, the result of a real dialogue with Frank Gehry and his building. His work responds magnificently to the architecture, in line with his approach, going back to the 1970s, that sees a coming together of colors, transparency and light,” announces Bernard Arnault, President of the Fondation Louis Vuitton.

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To commemorate this partnership, a catalogue, designed with Burren and co-edited with publishers Xavier Barral, will bring together, for the first time, a considerable body of works based around intersecting themes on color, transparency, light, translucency and projection all created since the 1970s. 

Furthermore, children visiting the Fondation Louis Vuitton will also be able to appreciate and engage in Buren’s light spectacle through its The Light Trap workshop from May 28th to August 28th, 2016 every Saturday and Sunday, from 2:30pm to 5:00 pm. Aimed at those between the aged of six to ten, the workshop will enable the children to experience and explore different opacities and discover how multiple colored facets can modify one’s perception of space.

 

Fondation Louis Vuitton is located at 8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 Paris, France

Photos by Iwan Baan for Fondation Louis Vuitton 
Words by E.V. Leong