Pinault collection at the Bourse de Commerce: the infinite and the ephemeral



The Bourse de Commerce is a magnificent place but full of paradoxes. Witness to the architectural innovations of the 18th centurye and XIXe centuries, this historical monument little known to Parisians even though it is located in the very center of Paris, in the Halles district between the Louvre and the Pompidou Center, is not in its first redesign.

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Former 18th wheat markete century built on a circular plan, unprecedented for this type of use at the time, then covered in 1813 with one of the first cast iron domes, the building was transformed into a commodity exchange in 1889. Its metal frame is worth the honors of the Universal Exhibition which inscribes it on the same poster as the Eiffel Tower.

Bought by the mayor of Paris from the Chamber of Commerce, the Bourse de Commerce is offered to billionaire François Pinault who had sought to set up a museum on Île Seguin (Boulogne-Billancourt) to exhibit the works of his immense art collection. contemporary. The founder of the Kering group then proposed to Tadao Ando to remodel the building, as he did in Venice for its two other exhibition venues, the Grassi Palace and the Customs Point. And as in Venice, the Japanese architect sought to highlight the space and the spirit of the place, by inserting a huge concrete cylinder under the dome: 29 meters in diameter and 9 in height!

→ MAINTENANCE. Tadao Ando: “When we have the shade, we hope for the light”

A spectacular intervention that evokes the cylindrical meditation space built by Ando for the 50 years of Unesco, in Paris. Incarnation of nothingness in Shintoism, the circle is also a symbol of rebirth and eternity, all the more powerful as it is here flooded with light. “Tadao Ando loves pure geometric shapes. In the circle, there is the idea of ​​a place that is both finite and infinite, it is a place of contemplation and introspection ”, Thibault Marca analysis, from the NeM architectes agency which coordinated the project management.

Blunt radicality

Theatrical, the volume created was to be even more so in Ando’s project, which planned to raise it an additional three meters. In agreement with him, the NeM agency and Pierre-Antoine Gatier, architect of historical monuments in charge of the – impeccable – restoration of the building, moderated this momentum in order to free the through view now offered from the second level. The idea was good, but the effect desired by Ando is attenuated, its radicality blunted.

→ READ. Pinault Museum, has Paris City Hall paid too much?

The cog of the building, the cylinder was ingeniously invested by the NeM agency, which slipped between the two concrete walls which constitute the ventilation and lighting. It serves the basement and its ultra-refined auditorium as well as the upper levels by sober concrete and glass stairs. Dialogue between eras is the watchword of the project managers. If the walls do not have an ear or a mouth, it is true that the confrontation between the heritage of the XVIIIe and XIXe centuries and contemporary architecture works well in this museum so pleasant to walk.

Committed and facetious exhibition

The superb staircases, in particular the double revolution staircase, host the elegant elongated aluminum and blown glass lights designed by the Bouroullec brothers. The galleries are vast and well lit by the clarity of the glass roof and by windows offering new and tree-lined views over the Nelson Mandela garden, separating the Bourse de Commerce from the canopy of Les Halles.

The feeling of paradox once again comes to the fore at the sight of the works on display, those of African-American plastic artists like David Hammons or Kerry James Marshall who work on the racial question. The very political tone of the opening exhibition contrasts somewhat with the image of their collector, also owner of the auction house Christie’s, known more for his artistic passion than for his involvement in the struggles of the moment.

More convincing, the facetious works of Bertrand Lavier (everyday objects displayed in the window), Tatiana Prouvé (statufied chairs) or Ryan Gander (a talking mouse in a hole in a wall), question the status of the work. of art, its staging and its duration. At the center of Tadao Ando’s sculptural concrete circle, the wax statues of Urs Fischer recall the impermanence and finitude of all things.

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The Stock Exchange in figures

150 million euros of works were hired, a quarter of which was assigned to the restoration of the monument.

50 years : duration of the emphyteutic lease at the end of which the building will revert to the municipality. The Pinault Collection will pay € 15 million in rent for the first two years.

10,500 m2 total area, including 6,800 for exhibitions.

38 meters in diameter and 9 meters high for Tadao Ando’s cylinder.

€ 14: full price entry price. Free open doors on May 22, 23 and 24 by reservation.

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