Bernard Arnault is the richest man in France, with a net worth of over $29 billion. He oversees LVMH Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, the corporate colossus that owns the mother-lode of luxury brands; Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Fendi, Bulgari + 55 more. Its Fondation Louis Vuitton is opening the 126,000-square-foot glass and steel structure designed by Frank Gehry this month in the Bois de Boulogne of Paris. He has spent the last decade making it at a cost of more than $135 million –perhaps much more. He says in an article today, in The New York Times;
“We don’t speak of numbers when we speak of a dream. Let’s just say it is a very expensive sculpture.”
But, of course, it is more than that. Built to house the contemporary art collection of LVMH (including works by Jeff Koons and Gilbert & George) as well as pieces from Mr. Arnault’s personal collection, the FLV may be the most ambitious, and potentially controversial, new structure in Paris since I. M. Pei’s pyramid landed in the Louvre in 1989. And because the new museum sits on land that belongs to a public park, in 55 years it reverts to the city.
It really is a marvel. After the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Disney concert Hall in LA, we tend to take his designs as a given but he continues to astound with buildings like this, and as a pubic place, it will continue to give back to Paris for many, many years. To read the full story on it and Arnault in the Times, go here.
(Photos, FLV; via NY Times)