Sponsored and funded by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, better known as LVMH, is a worldwide luxury goods conglomerate headquartered in Paris. Under the umbrella of LVMH is the Christian Dior brands as well as almost 20 Premium Wines and Spirits Brands, including Dom Perignon and Hennessy. Luxury consumer goods within the LVMH family include 17 Fashion retailers anchored by its Vuitton brand and complimented by brands such as Dior and Givenchy. Jewelry, Perfumes and cosmetic brands round out the luxury portfolio of LVMH along with specialty retail, hotels, shipyards and newspapers. With total equity exceeding 30 Billion dollars, LVMH has been a great patron of the arts.
The prized contribution of LVMH to the arts is the Fondation Louis Vuitton (FLV), which is an art museum and cultural center located in the famed park Bois de Boulogne in Paris. First conceived in 2001 by Bernard Amault, an avid art collector and the Chairman of LVMH, he commissioned Frank Gehry to design the monumental tribute to the arts as a living cultural center where they could display their Art collection, along with featured exhibits and cultural events.
With a proposed budget of $130 million dollars and plans to open by 2010, the project was stalled by legal battles from activists who felt that Bois de Boulogne park was not the proper place for the museum building. The park is the second largest park in Paris designed and opened during the reign of Napoleon III. After legal challenges and law changes, the project proceeded, and Fondation Louis Vuitton museum building opened to the public in October 2015.
The building itself was envisioned as a work of art and was designed by Frank Gehry to be just that, designing a building that mimicked the shape of the wind filled sails of a sailboat. Curved glass, accented with white flowery terraces, in a two-story structure that appears to be more, housed 11 galleries in a variety of sizes, a large 350 seat auditorium, with a lower ground floor and multilevel roof terraces for events and art installations.
More than 400 designers and engineers at Frank Gehry’s office contributed to the drawing, modeling, 3 D molding, engineering and construction rules that went into building the FLV museum and cultural center. Testing never used construction techniques, when FLV was fully completed it contained 3600 glass panels, some molded for the perfect curvatures, and 19,000 concrete panels to house the permanent and rotating art collections.
Adrian Villar Rojas
From the series The Theatre of Disappearance, 2017
Adrian Villar Rojas
Where the Slaves Live, 2014
“This presentation has been created in collaboration with the artist and is based on the Works in the Collection. It is structured around three entities: the iconic Mr DOB; a cute Kawaii space and a monumentally scaled cycle of paintings, The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg.” FLV
Various artists and sculptors were commissioned for site specific installations. Ellsworth Kelly, made a curtain consisting of 12 colored strips, entitled Spectrum VIII for the auditorium. Olafur Eliasson’s installation was titled Inside the Horizon and was made of 43 prism shaped yellow columns illuminated from within that were the sentry of a walkway.
Jean-Marie Appriou Lips and ears, 2018
Henri Matisse Nu bleu aux bas verts, 1952
Yves Klein 1928-1962 France Anthropometrie sans titre (ANT 104), 1960
“While musicians perform the Symphonie monoton-silence, which the artist composed, nude models cover themselves with Yves Klein’s Blue – IKB). They are then directed by the artist towards a surface that they imbue with colour, using their bodies as “living brushes”, and producing “Anthropometries”.
In ANT 104, the prints overlap each other, making it impossible to distinguish the bodies. These paintings are both performances and an echo of gestural abstraction. Yves Klein profoundly changed the relationship between painting and the body, space and colour.” FLV
Maurizio Cattelan Spermini, 1997
Maurizio Cattelan La ballata di Trotski, 1996
Mark Leckey Felix the Cat, 2013
FLV is open 6 days a week, closed on Tuesday and has a full ever-changing schedule of artistic and cultural events throughout the year. FLV is accessible to all ages with walking tours, family tours, hands on art workshops and smartphone apps which are designed to make culture and art a Fondation in everyone’s life at any age.
Even the menu at FLV is artistic at “Le Frank” restaurant. Under the direction of Michelin star chef, “Le Frank” is encompassed by light which inspires the menu of Chef Jean-Loius Nomicos. Featuring a flavorful menu of French-Inspired cuisine, complemented by international dishes for visitors throughout the world, Chef Nomicos seeks to create dishes that appeal to the palate as well as the senses.
As are the exhibits at FLV, the menu is an ever-changing presentation of culinary delights. Frank Gehry fish hang from the expansive glass ceilings of the restaurant space as you enjoy the menus of the day. Day time menus highlight the reinterpretations of flavors while breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, aperitifs are served for all, including children’s menus. During the day, Chef Nomicos might offer jambon-beurre sandwich, a classic blanquette-style stew or dishes inspired by Asia or Italy.
Afternoon delights at "Le Frank" include cold dishes, pastries and ice cream; enticing, addictive and creative items from a classic French repertoire. As twilight changes the mood and atmosphere of the restaurant, it is time for Champagne hour, complemented by sweet and savory treats.
Friday and Saturday Night, the restaurant stays open late with themed based cuisine that may focus on a flavor or the complimentary colors of the food. Anything is possible in the restaurant that turns food into an artistic cultural event.
Story by Daniel Dachille and Laine Page
Some photos courtesy of FLV