The Edge or the Centre

written by Vera Grimmer


The so-called Bilbao effect still lasts, even almost twenty years later. It can mostly be seen in the projects of large companies which invest excess profit in architectural spectacles, in order to gain a more refined promotion. The most recent example – a glazed sailboat of the Louis Vuitton foundation located on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne can confirm the above mentioned statement. The all-present and eternal Frank O. Gehry here again appears as a deus ex machina. Pathé, one of the oldest film companies commissioned another huge star, Renzo Piano, for a project of their foundation. Piano inserted an organic corpus, quite like a pre-historic giant reptile covered in scales, into a typical Parisian city block. Gehry’s sailboat and Piano’s organic creation are not only extravagant and conspicuous formal adventures, but the result of a great effort of numerous experts in many fields of civil engineering techniques. The research of such mega projects will definitely encourage thorough and diverse reflections, which will assert their significance. These are, of course, major activities in one of the centres of the modern world.