From a circle to a cylinder. A head- spinning museum

The old Bourse de Commerce, originally created as a grain market in the historical heart of the Ville Lumière, has been renovated under the guidance of the architect Tadao Ando to contain part of the immense art collection of Monsieur Pinault

Bourse de Commerce, Paris
Bourse de Commerce, Paris
DATA SHEET

Owner: Kering
Architectural design: Tadao Ando Architect & Associates (TAAA), PAG Pierre-Antoine Gatier
Engineering: Setec B‚timents
Interior design: Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, NeM (Lucie Niney and Thibault Marca)
Furnishings: Artek, Cassina
Lighting: Magis, Flos Bespoke
Photo credits: Courtesy Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection © Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Niney et Marca Architectes, Agence Pierre-Antoine Gatier, photos by Marc Domage, Maxime TÈtard, Studio Les Graphiquants, Paris, Patrick Tourneboeuf, Vladimir Partalo, Studio Bouroullec

The François Pinault collection is ready for viewing, in the heart of Paris, held in the centripetal embrace of 6800 square meters, rising to the emblematic 19th-century cupola made by François Joseph Bélanger. The new permanent exhibition space ordered by the French magnate, with an exceptional collection of over 10,000 works of contemporary art, is contained in the Bourse de Commerce, a historic building with a circular layout that sums up four centuries of architectural prowess in a harmonious parade of epochs and styles.

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The restoration and transformation have been assigned to the architect Tadao Ando, already responsible for the restoration of the Venetian facilities at Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, flanked by Pierre-Antoine Gatier, head of Monuments Historiques de France, and by the engineers of the Setec group. The designers Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, on the other hand, in collaboration with NeM, have tackled the furnishings and set-up of the museum interiors, as well as the restaurant on the upper level entrusted to the chefs Michel and Sébastien Bras, and the system of seating bordering the external plaza, delicately marking its (again circular) perimeter.

The conservative renovation has covered the external and internal facades, the cast iron structure of the cupola, and the magnificent fresco below it, made in the 19th century to celebrate trade relations of the five continents. The circular section of the building includes an iconic ‘rotunda’ inside which Ando has placed a cylinder covered by smooth concrete panels, with a diameter of 30 meters and a height of 9.

Besides setting off the area for exhibitions, the new volume creates an abstract nucleus at the center of the building, which extends from the ground floor to the second, inviting visitors to follow the light from the oculus, to reflect on that perfect form that alludes to nothing and everything at the same time, in an ode to the beauty of simplicity.

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Bourse de Commerce, Paris
Bourse de Commerce, Paris

Between the outer wall of the cylinder and the inner one of the façade decorated by Henri Blondel, the stairs, “similar to unfurling fruit rinds,”
follow the movement, taking guests to the various levels: from the semi-basement, which contains the auditorium and the rooms for video installations, performances and experimental projects, all the way to the second floor.

The furnishings are inserted to accompany this relational continuum that unfolds between past and present, abstract and particular, architectural space and the space of the artwork. Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec have chosen the new Palissade collection of chairs in steel and cord developed with Artek, the benches produced by Cassina in anodized aluminium and fabric, monumental lamps by Flos Bespoke in blown glass and metal for the equally impressive 19th-century stairs. In the soft, luxurious spaces of the Halle aux Grains restaurant, a collection by Magis has been adapted to reprise the black wrought iron in the tables and seats.

Bourse de Commerce, Paris
Bourse de Commerce, Paris
Bourse de Commerce, Paris