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News / Architecture

Frank Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton gets a colourful facelift courtesy of French artist Daniel Buren

A site-specific artwork by French artist Daniel Buren has been installed in the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Daniel coated the building’s sail-like glazing in a chequer board of colour by strategically arranging filters in 13 shades across the cultural institute’s 3,600 glass panes.

Best known for his stripy, colour-blocked installations and architectural interventions, Daniel has worked on similar projects at New York’s Bortolami gallery and the Baltic Gateshead. Daniel and Frank have known each other for more than 40 years and in 2007 the artist reconfigured Bilbao’s La Salve Bridge to frame the architect’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao for its tenth anniversary.

Speaking to the Fondation’s curator Suzanne Pagé, Daniel said that the project (called The Observatory of Light) was an opportunity to playfully tinker with the idiosyncrasies of the building while paying homage to his friend’s design. “There is a quantity of mirror effects here at the Fondation that actually don’t come from mirrors but from the windows,” he explained. “When the sails are coloured these refections become much more present and make these ‘dormant’ mirrors more active.” The result throws coloured light around the building and its surroundings, revealing new geometric configurations depending on the viewer’s perspective and transforming the formerly monochrome structure into a towering kaleidoscope.

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Daniel Buren: L’Observatoire de la lumière, work in situ, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016. Detail.
© DB-ADAGP Paris / Iwan Baan / Fondation Louis Vuitton

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Daniel Buren: L’Observatoire de la lumière, work in situ, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016. Detail.
© DB-ADAGP Paris / Iwan Baan / Fondation Louis Vuitton

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Daniel Buren: L’Observatoire de la lumière, work in situ, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016.
© DB-ADAGP Paris / Iwan Baan / Fondation Louis Vuitton

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Daniel Buren: L’Observatoire de la lumière, work in situ, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016.
© DB-ADAGP Paris / Iwan Baan / Fondation Louis Vuitton

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Daniel Buren: L’Observatoire de la lumière, work in situ, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2016.
© DB-ADAGP Paris / Iwan Baan / Fondation Louis Vuitton