Design’s ability to unify and its ability to bridge past and present, tradition and innovation, and bring individuals together in pursuit of a common goal, is one of its most inspiring qualities. The new art museum known as La Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection, located in Paris, France brings together past and present in striking fashion. It is the latest in a network of sites and initiatives that have been developed by French billionaire businessmanFrançois Pinault since 2006.
Reopening after a restoration and redesign by Japanese architect Tadao Ando (TAAA – Tadao Ando Architects & Associates), the result is a contemporary gallery housed in a historical building that was once a commodities exchange (used for the trade of grain, sugar, and the like).
The space was transformed and restored by Ando to bridge old and new. “The building needed a complete restoration - worthy of its rich history – and a major transformation for its new function as a museum of contemporary art. Tadao Ando, my partner in so many cultural projects, was the obvious candidate for such a challenge. With his minimalist aesthetic sensibility, a blend of rigour and purity, he is one of the few architects in the world who can establish a subtle dialogue between form and time,” says Pinault.
“The main theme was to create architecture that would bind together the time flowing from the past to the present and into the future,” says Ando. The architect inserted a 29-metre-wide cylindrical space bound by a nine-metre-high concrete wall into the circular building’s central rotunda. “I wanted to create a composition of concentric circles to initiate a delicate but intense dialogue between the old and new,” he adds.
A dialogue of creative inputs, the project involved numerous parties in different areas. With Ando on architecture, and project management by Lucie Niney and Thibault Marca of NeM, the conception of the interior furnishings of the Bourse de Commerce was entrusted to legendary design duo the Bouroullec Brothers, whose work has been presented on the #DI stage. In addition to the interiors, they also created the ‘urban furnishings’ around the building and on the forecourt. Together with NeM, they came up with the designs for the restaurant, signposting both elegantly and effectively the presence of a new venue.
“The new Bourse de Commerce is a play of contrasts, of exchanges between eras, between the things most clearly situated and anchored in time – such as the mouldings, décor, pavements and woodwork of the nineteenth century – and the most timeless, abstract elements, such as stone, concrete, glass, light, the circle. It was important not to come and ‘decorate’ these spaces, not to hinder this union of contrasts, but to accompany it,” they state.
Courtesy Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, NeM / Niney et Marca, Studio Bouroullec