Fondation Louis Vuitton

Drawing inspiration from 19th century glass and garden architecture, Gehry created a glass ark whose sails soar amidst the trees of the Bois de Boulogne. The 12 transparent mainsails were constructed from 3,600 glass panels and enclose a central, concrete core. Within the core are 11 galleries and a 360 -1,000 seat modular auditorium, all dedicated to the exhibition of the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s permanent collections, as well as rotating exhibitions.


As night falls, the structure is transformed from opaque shell to glowing lantern, as the central core of the building begins to glow with warm white light and the glass sails, made transparent by the night sky, take on a delicate, almost diaphanous quality. The warm light from within highlights the architectural detail of both the central core and the sweeping sails wrapped around it, while never losing a sense of the structure as a singular entity. The lighting gives this monumental structure buoyancy and movement, as light from the reflecting pool dapples the billowing glass sails, making the building float, ark-like amidst the green sea of trees.


L'Observatoire International provided the lighting design of the interior of public spaces and galleries, exterior lighting of building and landscape. Dimmable, integrated LED fixtures allow for a degree of sustainability exceeding the most stringent energy policies.


13 500 m2 : surface area of the 12 glass sails
7 000 m2 : total usable floor space
3 850 m2 : museum space
11 exhibition galleries 
350 (seats) - 1 000 (up) : seats in the auditorium

Location Paris, France
Date Completed 2014
Architect Gehry Partners, LLP
Client LVMH
Type Museums + Cultural Institutions
size75,350 ft2 / 7,000 m2
Status Built

L'Observatoire Intl Team
Principal Hervé Descottes
Project Leader Alex Miller
Project Team Nicolas Dufils Papon Kasettratat Solenn Borchers
Awards Architizer A+ Award Jury Winner in the Plus Categories | Architecture + Light , 2016
Press Lumieres, Mar 2015
Intramuros, Oct 2014
Domus, Nov 2014
Architectural Digest, Oct 2014
Architectural Record, Aug 2015
Mondo Arc, Nov 2015
Photo Credits Studio Dubuisson, Fondation Louis Vuitton