If you like French decorative arts you should make your way this summer to the Louvre's newly restored and reinstalled 18th century Decorative Arts Galleries. The collection is housed in 35 galleries spanning 23,000 square feet. Over 2,000 design pieces "in object-focused galleries and period-room settings" are on display. The architect for the restoration was Michel Goutal, the Louvre’s senior historical monument architect (with technical assistance provided by the Louvre’s Department of Project Planning and Management). In addition, there is an American connection to the restoration of the galleries. The American Friends of the Louvre (AFL)—who famously helped restore a "secret" Versailles water garden several years ago—played a vital role in the renovation by raising $4 million in support of the project and one of its key period rooms, the restoration of l’Hôtel Dangé-Villemaré drawing room. This space has not been exhibited in its entirety since its 19th-century acquisition by the Louvre. The AFL also raised funds for the restoration and first ever public presentation of a magnificent cupola painted by Antoine François Callet which will be installed in the galleries and for the English-language edition of the book of the Louvre’s decorative arts collection whose publication will celebrate the opening.
Posts tagged with "France":
The French “GIF artist”—welcome to the 21st century, everybody—Axel de Stampa has officially made time-lapse videos look like child’s play. In his new project, Animated Architecture, de Stampa spins, shifts, tops, and deconstructs some of the most visually distinctive contemporary buildings—all in endlessly entertaining GIF format. "In Architecture Animée, Axel de Stampa uses GIF format to develop a different approach. While the visitor doesn’t move, the building offers different perceptions, comes alive and reveals additional evidence," explained the artist in a statement. [h/t ArchDaily]
Donald Weber is a former architect turned visual media artist. His latest project, War Sand, is a series of microscopic photographs that depict pieces of shrapnel embedded in individual grains of sand along the beaches of Normandy. Each photograph—which takes over eight hours for Weber to produce—is a testimony to one of the most famous days in history, as well as to the relationship between art and science. "I like the idea that through science, art can reveal itself," Weber told Texas arts blog Glasstire. "And through art, science can reveal itself." In War Sand, both elements are certainly present. Physicist Kevin Robbie helped produce the photographs by using a powerful magnet to withdraw the shrapnel bits from the sand samples. The extracted metals were placed underneath a microscope, where Weber’s original theory—that shrapnel remained on Normandy’s beaches—was proven true. The sand grains that “housed” the shrapnel were then color coded to identify the types of metals embedded in the beach seventy years ago. The selected color palette—blue, green, and yellow—matches the natural colors found on the beach. One photograph depicts what looks like an artillery shell but is actually a diatom, or the casing built by ocean algae. Since diatoms feed off iron, Robbie posits that the iron this particular diatom fed from was in fact a shrapnel remnant from D-Day. “Ultimately,” Robbie said to Glasstire, “this remnant from this battle that killed many people is providing nutrients to a form of life decades and decades later.” The project as a whole demonstrates an amazing symbiosis between technology and art, but also of nature’s ability to rebuild itself after the intrusion of mankind. As Weber noted, "History never goes away. There's always a trace here or a remnant there.” At the project’s completion, Weber hopes to compile all the photographs into a book.
Work is almost finished on a revamped viewing platform and event space at the Eiffel Tower. While it’s called the First Floor, it’s nearly 200 feet above ground and will offer panoramic views of Paris. And for the braver visitors, it will offer views straight down as the new space has a glass-floor viewing platform. Moatti-Rivière Architects is heading up the renovation, which will include shops, restaurants, conference rooms and event spaces. The new floor will also be better suited to those with disabilities and incorporate green technologies including solar panels and the rainwater collection.
Paris is known in part for its numerous quaint outdoor markets offering foodstuffs and vintage objects. It is also home to an—if not quaint, at least fairly aged—abandoned railway system, the Chemin de fer de Petite Ceinture. Two enterprising architects have now proposed combining the idea behind the former retail markets and the infrastructure of the latter to create a traveling market that would circle the city center. Despite their surface appeal, Paris' street markets leave problematic amounts of trash in their wake and are prone to impeding the prevalent bicycle traffic within the city. Amílcar Ferreira and Marcelo Fernandes saw the long-abandoned railroad as a perfect solution to address these issues. The two propose reviving the tracks, last in operation in 1934, and using them as a platform for a train re-purposed as a site for commerce and bartering, with various cars providing storefronts, workshops, and utility services for local vendors. The train would also offer rides to visitors as it itinerates between various locations within Paris's fortified walls. The proposal was conceived as a submission to the 2013 M.ART opengap competition.
Paris has its answer to Silicon Valley, with plans to convert an historic train station into the world's largest home for digital entrepreneurship. Architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte has been entrusted to rehabilitate the landmark building, situated on the southern bank of the river Seine, into a technological hub to accommodate 1,000 start-up companies by the year 2016. The new Halle Freyssinet building will be structured around modular container-based architecture, a nod to the cargo train heritage of the building, and will provide a range of business functions including meeting rooms, spacious co-working areas, a large auditorium, a fab-lab (workshop to create digital prototypes) and a 24-hour restaurant and bar. The ambitious venture is made possible through the Municipality of Paris with joint financing by Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and French entrepreneur, Xavier Nile. If all goes to plan, the new digital incubator will strengthen France's presence and competitiveness in the tech enterprise market by cultivating an open space for entrepreneurs to grow and share ideas. "Paris is a magical city, a city that attracts people from around the world and where a real energy around digital is developing. But young companies that want to settle there are faced with a lack of affordable, practical and high-speed equipped places." Xavier Niel told the newspaper Journal du Dimanche.
A team led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won an international design completion for the new Museum of the Human Body in Montpellier, France. Recalling the forms of some of BIG’s other recent projects, most notably Blaavard Bunker Museum in Varde, Denmark (which has just received funding to move forward) and the 200-acre EuropaCity mega-development outside Paris, the 84,000 square foot museum will rise from the surrounding landscape with grass-capped roofs, and a seemingly continuous, curving glass façade. Set to open to the public in 2018, the museum will draw on Montpellier’s history of medicine and humanism as it explores the human body through artistic, scientific, and social perspectives with interactive exhibits, cultural programming, workshops, and performances. Located along the edge of Parc Georges Charpak in the city’s newly developed Parc Marianne area, the museum stitches the landscapes of park and city through eight, rounded, interconnected pavilions that, in the words of the architect, “weave together to for a unified institution–like individual fingers united together in mutual grip”. “Like the mixture of two incompatible substances–oil and vinegar–the urban pavement and the parks turf flow together in mutual embrace forming terraced pockets overlooking the park and elating islands above the city,” explained Ingels in a statement. Above ground, alternating roof gardens of pavement and grass provide spaces for visitors to, in the increasingly strange words of the architect, “explore and express their bodies in various ways.” Meanwhile, a continuous, linear space below grade joins together the eight volumes, maximizing internal connections. To extend Ingels’ finger metaphor and provide appropriate day-lighting for the interior, the building’s glass facade is covered in GFRC-fabricated louvers of varying orientations that somewhat resemble the pattern of human fingerprints. Construction is slated to begin in 2016.
Another week, another architect-designed liquor bottle. This time around, Paris-based architecture duo Jakob + MacFarlane—who made headlines over the summer with their tubular “Turbulances” project in France—have joined up with the manufacturer of their nation’s most popular pastis to create a pair chiseled, glass decanters. The set of slender, carved-glass carafes, commissioned by Pernod Ricard, is color-coded and sculpted to represent the "authenticity" of the beloved aperitif. The pair—consisting of a clear, ice-like container for water and an opaque, yellow one for the liqueur—are packaged together in a punctured, swiss cheese–shaped box.
The Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain, known as the FRAC, will open its fourth location at the former Subsistances military site in the Centre Region on September 14th. The Orleans-based center dubbed "The Turbulences" is the brainchild of architecture duo, Jakob + MacFarlane, who have renovated the original U-shaped military base and created a bold prefabricated structure in the middle of the courtyard to house the public reception area, cafeteria, bookshop, and auditorium. Made of aluminum, concrete and wood panels, the Turbulences will also display a "veil of light" on the exterior produced by artists Electronic Shadow (Niziha Mestaoui and Yacine Aït Kaci). The permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, in addition to a learning workshop area, will be located in the Subsistances. A new garden, "La faille/The Fault," designed by ruedurepos agency (Christophe Ponceau and Mélanie Drevet) will offer visitors an open green space with plantings and outfitted with Corten steel furniture. The FRAC, in its thirtieth year, emerged out of the decentralization of the country's collection (and production) of contemporary art and architecture to foster a more equitable and regional cultural program. The FRAC Centre's collection of architecture focuses on work from 1950s to present day, and consists of 15,000 architectural drawings, 800 models, and 600 artworks. The FRAC has embarked on an ambitious expansion plan: six regions are in the process of opening new centers, including Brittany (opened), Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (opened), Franche-Comté (opened), Centre Region (opening in September), Nord-Pas de Calais (opening in September), and Basse-Normandie (to be completed in 2015).
The planners of the AIA New York Chapter 2014 International Architecture and Design Summit have selected a pretty unusual conference venue: the Chateau of Versailles. Given the still sorry state of the economy, the choice left us scratching our head (under our powdered wig). Perhaps Rick Bell will point out the lessons in urban agriculture to be found in the Petit Trianon? Summit participants can display their work on easels in the Galeries Batailles, which will be handy if they want to do a little painting later en plein air. Apres tout, Giverny is less than an hour away by automobile, a bit longer by carriage though. Potential attendees are warned that the Plaza Anthénée will be closed for renovations. Sacrebleu!
Whoever said that one needs to leave the city to experience nature hasn’t seen French architect Stephane Malka’s striking facade proposal for the Parisian restaurant EP7, an unusual site that is sure to stand out in the urban setting of the city. Amidst a city of man-made concrete and glass structures could rise a building essentially comprised of an organically growing “forest. Malka, who has experience in urban landscaping, created a green facade that wraps around a glass enclosure and is composed of raw wooden blocks arranged in a patchy, pixelating pattern. The uneven surface creates spaces for plant life to grow, spilling flourishing green plants and foliage down the building. The textured wooden facade, which seems to actively move inward to completely engulf the glass skin, stops to reveal an expansive view of the restaurant’s interior. Malka’s work presents passersby and restaurant customer with with the interesting paradox of nature abundantly flourishing in an urban environment. [Via Design Taxi.]
London-based Farshid Moussavi Architecture has won a competition to design a residential tower in Montpellier, France. The so-called "Lot 2" project will be the first of 12 new buildings in the Jardins de la Lironde brownfield development in the city’s Port Marianne district, with construction set to begin in 2014. The 11-story tower features curving, offset floor plates that wiggle out from the building’s core in a seemingly random pattern to create varied balconies and overhangs, and diverse floor plans. The winning design contains 36 apartments and a ground floor restaurant, and, responding to the competition brief, is meant to represent a “modern folly” in reference to 18th chateaux of Southern France. Iranian-born Farshid Moussavi has garnered praise in the past for her Yokohama International Ferry Terminal in Japan, as well as for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, the firm's first project in the United States. Moussavi is currently at work on a variety of other projects, including residential complexes in London and Paris.