Mix Paris with Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano and Frank Gehry. What do you expect to find? The wonder of the forms? Whimsy technological solutions? Enchanting plays of colours? Too simplistic. You will have before your eyes the genius and the intelligence of three of the most creative minds in the world.
Jean Nouvel: French, Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and Pritzker Prize. Renzo Piano: Italian life senator, Pritzker Prize and with an asteroid bearing his name. Frank Gehry, Canadian pioneer of Deconstructivism, Golden Lion for the career and also Pritzker Prize. This journey through the archistars’ creations in Paris begins with the works of Jean Nouvel, goes through those of Renzo Piano and arrives at the Louis Vuitton Foundation by Frank Gehry.
Musée du Quai Branly – Jean Nouvel
Four buildings and an 800 m² vegetable wall. A theatrical scenography machine like few others, games of shadows and lights, continuous spaces and an installation designed for every single desire. The Musée du Quai Branly is a place far from the expressive codes of the West, it is another dimension, a mysterious building where objects come into contact with the world. It’s not just a museum, it’s a place to break free thanks to the garden that, with its paths and its small basins, invite to meditation.
37 Quai Branly, 75007 Paris, France
+33 1 56 61 70 00
Philharmonie de Paris – Jean Nouvel
The Philharmonie de Paris is the most spectacular auditorium in the whole city. It’s located inside the Parc de la Villette, designed by Bernard Tschumi. Its sinuous shapes recall those of the evening dress of a beautiful woman who goes to a concert of symphonic music. The mirrored surfaces and the soft curves give charisma and charm to the architecture. Still astonished from the outside, you will continue to be amazed once inside.
221 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris, France
+33 1 44 84 44 84
Institut du Monde Arabe – Jean Nouvel
A prestigious showcase of the Arab culture in Paris, but with many other surprises. In fact, the IMA is a place of encounter and comparison between two cultures. Jean Nouvel proves his profound knowledge of the Arab world, and it is easy to find the common thread between some elements of the Institute and traditional Arab buildings, such as the square and polygonal Mozarabic motifs inspired by the Alhambra of Granada.
The most brilliant and fascinating aspect of the Institut is its relation to light. In fact, the façade changes according to and the panels open or close like a photographic lens. This happens via the diaphragms activated by the camera of the south wall and the illumination well at its centre, covered with alabaster. Outside, this creates the image of the different elevation during the day. Have you ever seen anything like this?
1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, 75005 Paris, France
+33 1 40 51 38 38
Fondation Cartier – Jean Nouvel
How to describe the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain in three words? Transparency, fading and dematerialization. A simple, nine-story glass box with a succession of transparent layers. This project is a game of reflections, and it is the architect himself who says: “Sometimes I wonder if I am seeing the building or its image if the Cartier foundation is a question of transparency or reflection.” In fact, meteorological conditions, the hours of the day, the angles of the view, the interior and exterior lighting define the very elevation of the building.
261 Boulevard Raspail, 75014 Paris, France
+33 1 42 18 56 50
Centre Pompidou – Renzo Piano
Its charm has dominated Paris for 40 years: the emblem of an architectural revolution that has transformed the face of the Ville Lumière. The Pompidou upsets the spaces while overlapping and uninterrupted platforms change according to the exposures. Simple interiors, free from excess, create the contrast with the complexity of the exteriors. The structural mesh, the plants, the coloured pipes draw kaleidoscopic facade.
Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France
Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé – Renzo Piano
A private institution that preserves the archive of the Pathé production company and, at the same time, promotes the movie industry of today. In a dialogue with the old and with the pre-existing architectures, this building plays with connections and grafts. It is a parasite that blends with the old. It is an unexpected presence, a volume that is still in the past and yet is transforming it. The typically Parisian façade with Rodin’s youthful sculptures make the operation hardly perceptible, which then explodes into the interior design scene. The transparent space at the entrance is reminiscent of a greenhouse, but the most spectacular intervention is that of the organic and fluid entity in the garden that interprets and synthesizes a true sensitivity towards the context.
73 Avenue des Gobelins, 75013 Paris, France
+33 1 83 79 18 96
Louis Vuitton Foundation – Frank Gehry
The Louis Vuitton Foundation is the art museum and cultural centre sponsored by the LVMH group. Eleven different galleries spread over two floors, a 350-seat auditorium and a bowling alley. Glass sails inflated by the wind on a body of water that exceeds the ephemeral and reflect the freedom of the forms. Without exaggerating, this is one of Gehry’s best projects ever.
8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 Paris, France
+33 1 40 69 96 00
Cinémathèque Française – Frank Gehry
A stone sculpture in the Bercy district. Gehry has modelled this architectural artefact as a work of art, as a play of volumes and surfaces. The freedom of the archistar’s sprawling architecture challenges the rules of statics. The full and empty spaces of the structure, the supporting and worn elements, the mass of the limestone and the lightness of the glass. It’s the fulcrum of the district and a place of strong attraction for the whole city. Whether for a movie, for a walk or to take some pictures, take the metro, put the headphones and head to Bercy.
51 Rue de Bercy, 75012 Paris, France
+33 1 71 19 33 33