After the careful renovation works led by Tadao Ando Architect & Associates together with the agency NeM / Niney et Marca Architectes and Pierre-Antoine Gatier lasted three years, Bourse de Commerce, the long-awaited museum that houses the prestigious collection of modern and contemporary art by François Pinault in Paris, opens to the public. Testimony of four centuries of history, architectural mastery and technical skill, the imposing building with its huge glass dome dates back to the mid-18th century, when it was built to house the grain market.
A new cultural destination that contrasts the sumptuous context with the minimal, material but enveloping style that distinguishes the architectural works of Tadao Ando, different rooms of the Bourse de Commerce - Pinault Collection are emphasized by luminous compositions – fluctuating and silent, as intangible as they are recognizable – designed by Ronan ed Erwan Bouroullec, conceived with Jean-Jacques Aillagon and Martin Bethenod and developed thanks to the know-how of Flos Bespoke.
A cultured and inspired project, ethereal and respectful, which intertwines history and technology, manufacturing knowledge and contemporary sobriety, artistic expression and mathematical precision.
The dialogue with the architectural complex in its (new) entirety, ancient and modern, and the creation of an immersive atmosphere designed to accompany visitors on an emotional journey to discover the building, its history and its content were these the central points around which the lighting project by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec developed, to whom François Pinault entrusted the complete interior and exterior fitting of the Bourse.
The result is special – vibrant – places permeated by a magical aura, supported by design rigor but imbued with the artistic imprint that distinguishes the works of French designers. A scenic impact characterizing in its being measured.
“We didn't have to illuminate the exhibition spaces but passage areas”, explain the designers. “The stairs and the entrance hall (areas of period architecture), and the restaurant (which is completely new). This is why we focused on the design of light in its relationship with what it illuminates but also on the scenic presence of the sources when there is no artificial light: during the day, when visitors flood the space. What sets up stairs and entrance hall today has therefore been worked, designed, and imagined to be switched on but above all switched off”.
For the majestic entrance hall, was created Horizontal Light, an interlocking structure composed of five tubular elements of glass and aluminum measuring six meters each and parallelly positioned. The Horizontal Lights are installations suspended from the ceiling above the entrance, in a groupage of five. Each glass cylinder was made near Venice with cast glass technology and has a simple but also organic shape.
“It is not a technical glass”, explain Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, “but a material that is never the same, almost alive, inserted in aluminum extrusions. The result we wanted to achieve was precise but at the same time fluctuating and vibrant, just like the space that welcomes it”. The final effect is very delicate but with a high aesthetic impact. “Not having to deal with the technical areas, we worked on sensuality, on the color of light and on the way it related with the details of the period architecture that Tadao Ando has restored to its former glory”.
The two stairways on the sides of the entrance, on the other hand, are set up with five suspended Vertical Lights, connected to each other in a pentagon. A third, monumental, is formed by two spiral staircases that intersect and are illuminated by three Vertical Lights arranged in a triangle. The light of the imposing compositions marks the space between the ceiling and the ground floor, covering it for all 17 meters in length.
“For these enormous chandeliers”, explain Ronan ed Erwan Bouroullec, “we have chosen a more precise processing for the glass than that of the Horizontal Light. The aluminum we used is also more delicate and finer: the glass has been blown with great care in the molds and it is protected by the metal grid for a shell effect”. The ability to move around the chandeliers allows the visitor to enjoy their qualities from multiple points of view. “Observed from below, the installation is delicate, almost transparent and ethereal. As you go up, its decisive physical presence is progressively affirmed”.
To illuminate the new restaurant with contemporary architecture, Vertical Light compositions but also simple and refined table lamps, portable and rechargeable. With minimal lines, they have been designed exclusively for the venue with a wrought iron base equipped with a small soft light source.
For years Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have been carrying out an accurate and meticulous research with Flos relating to suspended lighting structures. For the realization of the light installations that set up the Bourse de Commerce, the French designers therefore relied on Flos Bespoke, the division of the group specialized in the development and production of customized lighting solutions for large architectural projects.
Cover photo, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec with Vertical Light, modular luminaire especially designed for the Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection, Paris. © Luca Caizzi, Courtesy of Flos © Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, NeM / Niney et Marca Architectes / agence Pierre-Antoine Gatier © Studio Bouroullec