The historic building never fails to arouse the curiosity of Parisians and visitors passing the Les Halles district. Behind tarpaulins and scaffolding, the Bourse de Commerce has been undergoing a complete transformation for the past three years. The French businessman and patron of the arts, François Pinault, an avid collector of contemporary art who owns more than 5000 works covering the 20th and 21st centuries, will add to his network of permanent museums with the opening of this prestigious venue. This latest project, La Collection Pinault will become the centrepiece of his collections alongside projects at the Palazzo Grassi, the Pointe de la Douane and the Teatrino in Venice.
A perfect dome
François Pinault continues his work with Tadao Ando, the architect who transformed the Venetian buildings housing his collections. Ando says: “In memory of the city, engraved on the walls of the Bourse de Commerce, I created a new space that fits inside the existing building to revitalize the entire space which will be dedicated to contemporary art. Architecture is a bridge between the past, the present and the future.” The cupola will be rebuilt, according to sketches by the master architect, to highlight the works of the Pinault Collection.
The building work has been completed in record time for such a complex project. Acquired in January 2017, the rebuilding project started the following year, and will be completed in the spring of 2020. The cylinder designed by Tadao Ando is the centrepiece of the interior of the building and has exhibition space on each side. The building has 3000m2 (32291 ft2) of space, divided into galleries from 100m2 (1076 ft2) to 600 m2 (6458 ft2). They will house themed exhibitions, group and solo shows, works from Mr. Pinault’s collection as well as loaned artworks.
Of metal and glass
The symbol of the Bourse de Commerce building is its the glass and metal dome, reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome, and it was classified as a historic monument in 1986. But other parts of the building have been protected for even longer, starting with the classified Medici column in 1862, at the same time as Notre-Dame de Paris and Sainte-Chapelle were listed, followed by the total classification of the entire building in 1975. The dome in particular has been subject to close scrutiny during the transformation: “The cast iron frame structure of the dome has been preserved and the new glass roof is designed to protect the painted decorations and works of art being exhibited below”. Beyond the dome, the restoration project is global, between the exterior and interior facades, the roofs, or the canvases mounted at the foot of the dome.
A restored fresco
The panoramic painting inside the dome is one of the treasures of the Bourse de Commerce. Alix Laveau, and her restoration team under the direction of the Museums of France, worked on scaffolding 20 metres (65 feet) high for several months during the restoration of this historic 19th century fresco which covers an area 10 metres (32 feet) high and 140 meters (459 feet) long. Classified as a historical monument in its own right, the huge painting by five artists celebrates trade between the five continents. Visitors will be able to (re) discover this "Trade Panorama" from a footbridge installed at the top of the cylinder designed by Tadao Ando.
Between the Louvre and Les Halles
Located close to the banks of the River Seine, at the western end of the Les Halles district, between the Les Halles gardens and the rue du Louvre, the Bourse de Commerce is just a few minutes’ walk from the Louvre Museum and 10 minutes’ walk to the Pompidou Center. With this major transformation and its forthcoming exhibitions, the arrival of the Pinault Collection adds to the architectural heritage and the artistic and cultural credentials of the 1st Arrondissement. François Pinault has entrusted the interior furnishings and fittings of the museum to Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and the restaurant, located on the top floor, will be overseen by renowned chefs Michel and Sébastien Bras.
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Open to the public and covering all artistic disciplines, Bourse de Commerce presents exhibitions of contemporary art from the Pinault Collection, as well as educational programmes, conferences, meetings, screenings, concerts and performances.