Wednesday, April 27, 2016

François Pinault to open Paris museum


François Pinault to realise long-held ambition of opening Paris museum

Billionaire collector strikes deal with city’s mayor to convert historic stock exchange
by Vincent Noce  |  27 April 2016
François Pinault to realise long-held ambition of opening Paris museum
François Pinault plans to open a museum in the Bourse de Commerce in Paris. (Photos: Bourse: © Jens from Magdeburg. Pinault: AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
The French billionaire art collector François Pinault announced today (27 April) that he plans to open a new museum in the heart of Paris to show his collection and stage contemporary art shows. In a deal struck with the city, Pinault will take over the historical Bourse du Commerce (commodity stock exchange) building, which is close to the Louvre. The opening is scheduled for the end of 2018. Pinault, who announced the news with his son, François Henri Pinault, and the Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, said that he would cover the costs. François Henri Pinault, the chief executive of luxury group Kering, said that the family company Artemis will "continue to ensure the passionate dream" of his father.

A new entity will manage the Paris museum alongside its Venice spaces, the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta Della Dogana. As chairman, Pinault will be assisted by the former French culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon. Martin Béthenod, the current director of the Venice spaces, will now oversee the institutions in both cities.

Tadao Ando, the Japanese architect who has designed all of Pinault’s projects—along with two young French architects, Lucie Niney and Thibault Marca—will head the renovation of the building. They will work with the conservation architect Pierre-Antoine Gatier who will be in charge of protecting the historical monument.

Pinault has long wanted to open a space in Paris. In 2005, plans were abandoned for an Ando-designed museum in the outskirts of Paris frustrated by delays and with the local authorities. Today, the site on an island on the Seine is still a wasteland.

“I have long nurtured the dream of an international network, based in Europe, where works, projects, ideas and views could be exchanged. With this new site, my dream is on the way to becoming reality,” he says.

Pinault, 79, says that he made this choice with his children “in order to ensure continuity”. He said that he wishes that his descendants “continue the adventure” in 50 years’ time.

The city council has been in discussions with Pinault about the project for months. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has agreed to transfer the ownership of the site to the city in exchange for another building. The former Bourse du Commerce will then be leased to the Pinault foundation for 50 years.

Although close to Les Halles, few Parisians have been inside this 40m-wide circular hall, surrounded by 24 arches and topped by a cupola almost as large as the Pantheon’s in Rome.

It was erected by Nicolas Le Camus de Mézières in the 18th century to store corn and flour, before being remodelled at the end of the 19th century to house the Commodity Stock Exchange.

Pinault’s museum should open at the same time as two palatial hotels in this central district, one in the former central post office, the other one built by LVMH-founder Bernard Arnault in the art deco Samaritaine department store. In 2014, Arnault opened the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton  in the Bois de Boulogne.

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