Bourse de Commerce Pinault Fondation Paris

The 23rd January 2021 was set to be the opening date for the Bourse de Commerce Pinault Collection in Paris. Due to the Coronavirus restrictions in France, no less than 3 delays had to be made over this past year. The building has been ready, for months now waiting for the permission to open.

As you see below, and if you know the area around the 1eme arrondissement, you will see the magical Saint-Eustache to the right, with Les Halles just out of shot at the front of the photograph.

The Bourse de Commerce is a historical monument in Paris, a former wheat market from the 18th century, transformed into the stock exchange in the 19th century, now completely restored since it’s last life as corporate offices. The space now offers 10 exhibition spaces and an auditorium, or 7,000 m2 dedicated to works over a total area of ​​10,500 m2. Billionaire Frenchman Francois Pinault, founder of the luxury goods group Kering privately funded this project at an estimated 120 million euros. Pinault enlisted Japanese architect Tadao Ando who worked alongside the chief architect of French Historical Monuments and the NeM agency.

Model of the Bourse de Commerce showing the interlocking in the atrium of the cylinder designed by Tadao Ando.

Development photographs by Patrick Tourneboeuf

“The structuring element of the transformation project of the Stock Exchange is an echo of the fundamental principle of the building: its circularity. Tadao Ando inserted his intervention within the building itself, in dialogue with its historical elements, scrupulously restored. We understand this choice as the necessary transcription of the party that it has often adopted in relation to natural sites. Here, culture, the history of the building and that of Paris, the capital of the 19 th century, are the environment with which it is a question of becoming one.” Bourse de Commerce Press Department.

“A concrete cylinder, with smooth walls pierced with four identical openings and surmounted by an oculus filtering the light, fits into the central void. This device erases all benchmarks to assert a unitary, abstract and fixed space. The center of the building, where the wheat is stored, then the vibrating basket of the stock exchange, originally open to the city with streets converging on it to literally pour out their activity, isolates itself. It becomes the place of an introspective experience of meeting the works. The essential components of the architecture of the place – the circular shape, the dome, the controlled presence of light – are the protagonists of a scenography which intends to remove the visitor from contingencies and allow him to access a unique dimension, that of of here and now.” Bourse de Commerce Press Department.

An extraordinary restoration project inside the Rotunda of the Bourse de Commerce is the Panorama of the Trade. Raise your head towards the dome that culminates forty meters above, and the immense frescos painted in 1889 unfold in 360 degrees. Painstakingly restored by 24 experts over 4 years.

“This restoration, an integral part of Tadao Ando’s project for Pinault Collection, allows these paintings to be viewed as they had never been seen before. From the footbridge installed at the top of Tadao Ando’s cylinder, visitors are much closer to the scenery than their predecessors at the end of the 19 th century had been. This new vision was a discovery for many of us. In a way, the “panorama of commerce” appears among the works of the Pinault collection. The challenge of restoration thus takes on its full meaning.

To conclude, it is funny to remember that Marco Ferreri, Italian director, in his film Don’t touch the white woman!  (1974), to Philippe Noiret, speaking of the Rotonde de la Bourse de Commerce: “Beautiful fresco, isn’t it? This is our Sistine Chapel! “. Difficult to do better as a compliment.”

Alix Laveau, restorer authorised by the Direction des Musées de France.
Interview above by Guillaume Picon, historian.

The Bourse de Commerce is due to open soon. An exact date has yet to be finalised due to the Coronavirus restrictions in Paris.

All images and quoted text c/o Bource de Commerce website.

Nicky’s World January 2021