The V Is For View
Judy Fayard -- Interior Design, 4/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
Louis Vuitton's huge new Paris flagship occupies an art deco 1930's building that takes up an entire wedge-shape city block. Around the corner from the front of the boutique, there's a separate entry for the top-floor art gallery, the Espace Louis Vuitton. The ride to the top takes place in a blacked-out, almost completely silent elevator—an installation by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson—and then the doors open to a burst of white walls and bright light.
Because of the building's odd shape, the gallery is basically a triangle, with one corner rounded off and topped by a cupola. Barthélémy-Griño Architectes laid out the 5,700-square-foot space in the form of a "promenade" that extends almost all the way around the perimeter. Exterior walls are punctuated by large windows and tall glass doors that open to a wraparound balcony. Views are extraordinary, encompassing the Champs-Elysées, the Eiffel Tower, Nôtre-Dame, and the golden dome of the Invalides.
The facility will be used for concerts, receptions, and cocktail parties in addition to exhibitions of contemporary art. The inaugural show, "VBLV," featured the photography of Vanessa Beecroft—including the Louis Vuitton name spelled out by the bodies of nude women.