The unveiling of any major new building by Frank Gehry is always an occasion. But some of them — his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; his Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles; his 76-story condo tower in Manhattan with its undulating stainless steel exterior —have been architectural game changers. His latest project, Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, which opens later this month in the Bois de Boulogne, may well be another of those.
It was commissioned by Bernard Arnault, the chairman and C.E.O. of the luxury goods company LVMH Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton, to serve as a cultural center and a museum holding work from the corporation’s collection of contemporary art. The 126,000 square foot (11,706 sq. meters) building delves further into the expressive gestures that Gehry developed for the Guggenheim and the Disney Hall. But where the billowing silhouettes of those were clad in titanium or stainless steel, the Fondation carries them out largely in glass. The word “soaring” gets applied a lot to Gehry’s virtuoso designs, but this one looks from some angles like it really is ready to take flight. See for yourself.