Design on tiptoe

The historic Bourse de Commerce building in Paris has returned to its original splendor. It is now a contemporary art museum for the Pinault Collection, thanks to restoration carried out by Tadao Ando Architect & Associates and museum design by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, who put the accent on respectful design, including pieces by Flos Bespoke and Artek

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Vertical Light by Flos Bespoke - Photo © Luca Caizzi
Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Vertical Light by Flos Bespoke - Photo © Luca Caizzi

It took three years to complete the restoration of the Bourse de Commerce and to create this new art museum in the center of Paris. The project commissioned by François Pinault to contain part of his collection of contemporary art, and developed with Jean-Jacques Aillagon and Martin Bethenod, expresses all its force in a constant dialogue between architecture and design, antiquity and the contemporary era. A sum of four centuries of history, the structure has been refurbished and adapted for a new function by Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, with the agencies NeM / Niney & Marca Architectes and Pierre-Antoine Gatier, architect in chief for French national architectural heritage. The reinterpretation has transformed the historic building, designed in the 18th century, in a very understated and poetic way, creating a temple for contemporary art and giving the art itself a powerful voice. The set-up, both inside and outside, developed by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, addresses the exceptional quality of the space with delicacy and respect, choosing discreet solutions by Flos Bespoke and Artek that tread lightly while at the same time generating aesthetic impact.

Horizontal Light by Flos Bespoke - Photo © Tommaso Sartori
Horizontal Light by Flos Bespoke – Photo © Tommaso Sartori

The suspended lighting installation have been made to measure by the designers together with the Flos Bespoke division. In the entrance hall, Horizontal Light emits a fluctuating, vibrant glow, with an interlocking luminous structure composed of five tubular parts in glass and aluminium, each six meters long, placed parallel.

Vertical Light by Flos Bespoke - Photo © Tommaso Sartori
Vertical Light by Flos Bespoke – Photo © Tommaso Sartori
Vertical Light by Flos Bespoke - Photo © Tommaso Sartori
Vertical Light by Flos Bespoke – Photo © Tommaso Sartori

The two flights of steps at the sides of the entrance and the spectacular C staircase, formed by two spirals that intersect with each other, are set up with suspended Vertical Light fixtures: respectively with 5 modules connected in a pentagon, and 3 arranged in a triangle. Here the light becomes monumental, marking the enormous space between the ceiling and the ground floor, following it along 17 meters of length with delicate aluminium, and with glass blown with great care inside molds, protected by a metal grille for a seashell effect. Though contemporary in nature, the restaurant keeps the dialogue between opposites alive, using the invention of the Vertical Light and installing individual tables with rechargeable lamps on wrought iron bases.

The Rope collection by Artek - Photo © Studio Bouroullec
The Rope collection by Artek – Photo © Studio Bouroullec

For the corridors and zones of passage the Bouroullecs have chosen the Rope Chair designed for Artek, custom made in a gray version. Conceived as a three-dimensional sign, the chair is the result of sophisticated engineering and refined creativity, with its slender but solid structure in steel tubing, and a flexible cord in linen or polyester that acts as the back and the armrests. The rope becomes the central focus of unexpected comfort, adapting to the body and encourages a dynamic posture.

The Rope Chair by Artek - Photo © Marc Domage
The Rope Chair by Artek – Photo © Marc Domage
The Rope Chair by Artek - Photo © Marc Domage
The Rope Chair by Artek – Photo © Marc Domage

“It was vital – the designers emphasize – not to „decorate“ these spaces, or disturb this union of contrasts, just to accompany them.”