September 18, 2021
Inside the Bourse de Commerce, Paris' new $195 million art museum

Inside the Bourse de Commerce, Paris’ new $195 million art museum

Written by Leah Dolan, CNN

Paris’ former stock exchange, the Bourse de Commerce, will reopen its doors this week having undergone a $195 million transformation into a new landmark museum for contemporary art.

Three years in the making, the redesign was led by Japanese architect Tadao Ando and supported by a team of Parisian architects, including NeM Architects Agency. The expansive space, stretching over 10,000 square meters (more than 100,000 square feet), will house the contemporary art collection of French billionaire François Pinault.

An interior shot from inside the newly renovated and redesigned building. Credit: Patrick Tournebœuf/Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection

Pinault, who is the founder of luxury conglomerate Kering (parent company of fashion houses Gucci and Saint Laurent, among others), has spent 20 years working toward opening a private museum in Paris for his collection. “It began as a dream, a dream that seemed out of reach. Then this dream became an ambition,” he said in a press statement.

“Today, that ambition has become reality. For years, I have longed to be able to show my collection in Paris, the city I love.”

The museum’s inaugural exhibition, titled “Ouverture,” (in reference to the introductory symphonic piece sung at the beginning of an opera) will present works by a number of international artists, including Kerry James Marshall, Marlene Dumas, Luc Tuymans and Cindy Sherman.

Design work on the project began back in 2017.

Design work on the project began back in 2017. Credit: Patrick Tournebœuf/Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection

Pinault described the debut as a “manifesto of the values” he has long championed, namely, “the thirst for freedom, the rebuttal of injustice, the acceptance of diversity.”

Situated walking distance from the Louvre, the protected building dates back to the 18th century and has undergone a number of renovations over the years. Its original circular shape was established in 1767, when it became a grains exchange for the city, a hub for the storage and sale of wheat.

Bourse de Commerce - Pinault Collection, Paris.

Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection, Paris. Credit: Patrick Tournebœuf/Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection

Ando has added a central concrete cylinder to the inside of the museum, beneath the building’s signature cupola, as “a hyphen to link the past and the present, to produce a vision of the future,” he said.

The entire project has been “built on the idea of setting dialogues between the present of contemporary creation and the past,” said Martin Bethenod, deputy chief executive officer of the Pinault Collection.

Harmony between heritage and modernity is built into every inch of the Bourse de Commerce’s redesign, right through to the museum cafe. Even the menu of the eatery — called the Halle aux Grains — will pay homage to the building’s past life, featuring modest ingredients like cereals, grains, seeds and pulses.

Watch the video above to see inside the impressive new space.