PARIS MATCH: François Pinault is to showcase part of his vast art collection at the Bourse de Commerce de Paris.
The French business titan revealed the project at a joint press conference on Wednesday with Paris mayor Anne Hidago and François-Henri Pinault, president of the family holding company Artémis and chairman and chief executive officer of Kering.
The 150,000-square-foot building is in the center of Paris near the newly refurbished Forum des Halles shopping center, and in a neighborhood that is being transformed.
The 18th-century building boasts a cupola that is listed as a historical monument. Paul Smith and Lanvin have used it for shows during Men’s Fashion Week here.
Its owner, Paris’ Chamber of Commerce is to yield the site to the city. The handover is expected later this year following a vote of the council of Paris in July and the Pinault family, under the Artémis umbrella, is to be the holder of a 50-year lease. Works are to start in early 2017 and the museum’s opening is slated for end of 2018.
According to sources, the venue could have a restaurant and a terrace giving on a new garden space that’s also slated to be complete in 2018.
Pinault entrusted the project to Japanese architect Tadao Ando, who’ll work with Pierre-Antoine Gatier, chief architect of historical monuments, and Lucie Niney and Thibault Marca of Paris-based agency NeM. The new Paris museum will coexist with Palazzo Grassi in Venice.
“I am a happy mayor,” said Hidalgo, noting that three generations of Pinault were represented. (François-Henri Pinault’s 18-year-old son, François, was sitting front row at the conference.) “We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to get to Paris the incredible collection, without undressing Venice. It’s a magnificent project,” she said.
“I was very moved when after the terror attacks in 2015, François Pinault expressed his will to support. Like him, I think art won’t completely save the world but art is one of the best weapons we have to halt and reverse obscurantist ideas and barbarism,” she said.
“The dream will come true,” said Pinault senior. “I made this decision with my family, my spouse and my children, especially my son. I wanted this to be a joint decision of several generations of my family members.”
François-Henri Pinault said his father’s “devouring passion” for art has become a family adventure.
“If I am not here in 50 years to continue the adventure, I hope my son will be,” he said.
“It obviously resonates very well with the activity of our houses — the cultural dimension and its anchorage in tradition is very important,” he told WWD. “There’s an obvious link between art and fashion. All the artistic directors of our houses are all involved in art.”
“It will contribute to Paris’ attractiveness internationally and therefore it’s a bonus for Parisian luxury brands,” he added.
In 2005, François Pinault, the founder of the PPR retail and luxury empire – now known as Kering — ditched plans to build a private museum to house his art collection on the Île Seguin in Boulogne-Billancourt, southwest of Paris, after the project became mired in red tape.
His decision to showcase the works at the Palazzo Grassi was seen as a major blow to the French capital’s cultural prestige.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief executive officer Bernard Arnault opened his Louis Vuitton Foundation, a striking art museum on the leafy fringes of Paris, in October 2014.
“The Fondation Louis Vuitton is a true gift for Parisians….I am thrilled that it will incredibly boost the city’s attractiveness. If the Pinault Foundation had chosen Paris instead of Boulogne, I would have done anything to make it happen and not let it go to Venice, the same way we did everything to make Fondation Louis Vuitton happen,” Hidalgo told WWD in September 2014.