A trip to Paris: Galleries Lafayette

During my recent trip to Paris, I saw a number of fashion shows and also took part in the debate on sustainable fashion at the British Embassy, which showed students work from our MA Fashion Futures programme.

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I was also lucky enough to attend the opening of the new Lafayette Aspirations building in Paris’s Le Marais neighbourhood. The building itself is stunning, created by the wonderful architect Rem Koolhaas and his firm OMA. Rem is widely regarded as one of the most important architectural thinkers and urbanists of his generation, in 2000 he won the Pritzker Prize and in 2008, Time Magazine put him in their top 100 of ‘The World’s Most Influential People’.

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The building has positioned preservation at the forefront of contemporary architecture and the renovation of a former industrial building has been turned into an inspiring  gallery for the Fondation Galeries Lafayette. The new architectural elements are an exhibition tower inserted into the older building’s courtyard, inside of which four independently moving platforms can be rearranged in more then 40 different configurations and will be used to show a range of art projects and collaborations.

“The result is the encounter of a 19th-century building and a machine whose location, proportions, and performance are precisely dictated by the building,” Koolhaas said in a statement. Referring to the flexible tower structure at the heart of the historic building, he said: “Seeing before us the physical change in the proportions of the building and thus providing artists with the opportunity to almost daily compose the measures of their space, is very stimulating.”

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The opening inaugural exhibition, running through March-April is a Lutz Bacher takeover. The show was an architectural intervention involving sound, light and transparent films, focusing on the surfaces of the building such as window reflections and bare walls.

Accordingly, the space gives opportunity for designers, artists, performers, and fashion creators to mix disciplines and processes, as part of a general inquiry into the practices of creation, which hopes to lead to a better understanding of contemporary times.

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