Rem Koolhaas Unveils Plans for Paris’ Fondation Galeries Lafayette

A mock-up of the Fondation Galeries Lafayette Photo: Frans Parthesius, Courtesy OMA
A mock-up of the Fondation Galeries Lafayette Photo: Frans Parthesius, Courtesy OMA

Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette unveiled the plans for the new home of its foundation for art and design, the Fondation Galeries Lafayette, on Thursday. The philanthropic organization–which was announced in 2013 and until now has operated from temporary premises–will take over a five storey building Rue du Plâtre in Paris’s Marais and span 25,000 square meters (27,000 square feet). The building, originally designed by Samuel Mejot de Demmartin, is currently undergoing renovations and will open in 2016.

Rem Koolhaas and his agency, OMA, have been tapped to conceive and execute the structure’s most notable addition. According to plans presented on Thursday, they will fill the building’s courtyard with a steel frame composed of two floors, which can be moved independently along the full height of the existing structure to create numerous different spacial possibilities for exhibitions and production facilities. Each floor can also be split to create passageways between other levels of the main structure or galleries from which exhibitions or installations can be viewed from above.

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A mock-up of the Fondation Galeries Lafayette
Photo: Frans Parthesius, Courtesy OMA

“The core of the project is to create the perfect intersection where fashion and industrial designers, artists, performers and other creatives, can exchange ideas and practices, with a wider audience and produce something new,” Fondation Galeries Lafayette president Guillaume Houzé said in a statement announcing the architectural plans and initial artistic program.

Ahead of the foundation’s opening in 2016, Galerie Lafayette has been presenting “Lafayette Anticipation,” an ongoing program incuding projects by Petrit Halilaj, Simon Fujiwara, Olaf Nicolai, and Pierre Leguillon, among others.


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