Starting on May 11 this year, Frank Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton building in Paris is set to host a dazzling glass installation by French conceptual artist, Daniel Buren.
Titled L’Observatoire de la lumière (or Observatory of Light) the installation will see some 3,600 tiles of glass alongside a series of colored filters, broken up at regular intervals by alternating vertical white and blank stripes.
The articulation of light and interplay of color spans across the building’s twelve classic Gehry-style volumes, known as “sails,” working in sync with the Gehry’s design which, until now, employed a colorless paneled facade.
Making use of thirteen different colors, arranged to create the illusion of forms disappearing at different times during the day, light entering the building through these filters will enhance the interior spaces, changing their spatial qualities.
Bernard Arnault, President of the Fondation Louis Vuitton said “Daniel Buren has designed a grandiose project, pertinent and enchanting, the result of a real dialogue with Frank Gehry and his building.”
“The transparency and quality of a colour projected by means of a coloured filter, as I see it, make it much more alive than painted colour covering a surface” said Buren in a Press Release.
“There is a quantity of mirror effects here at the Fondation that actually don’t come from mirrors but from the windows. Almost everywhere something is reflected (…) through the coloring of the sails, all those reflections will become more and more present and will awake those sleeping mirrors that are everywhere. I think that this will enable visitors to further understand and enjoy the singularity of this architecture,” continued Buren.
To commemorate the installation opening, a catalogue, designed in collaboration with Buren, will amalgamate works touching on color, transparency, light, translucency, and projection all created since the 1970s.
Alongside L’Observatoire de la lumière, a theatrical piece will be shown from June 2 to 4. BurenCirque: 3 times another Hut revolves around three fairground inspired huts. Again using light as a key theme, the huts will become “translucent and mysterious lanterns at night.” The piece was conceived in the early 2000’s by Buren working with brothers Dan and Fabien Demuynck.
Children visiting the Fondation Louis Vuitton will also be able to appreciate and engage in Buren’s light spectacle. Aimed at children aged six to ten, The Light Trap lets the projections and reflections of color within the building form a giant kaleidoscope. A workshop will then allow the children to explore different opacities and discover how light can alter space perception.
The Light Trap will run from May 28 to August 28, every Saturday and Sunday, from 2:30–5pm.