Architecture - Pascal Grasso
Dating from the period of stylistic transition between art nouveau and art deco, the building was built between 1912 and 1914. Paul Follot’s studio constitutes a remarkable testimony to the Montparnasse neighbourhood, the area chosen by artists. For architect Pascal Grasso, the objectives were three-fold: respect the historic monument and give Giacometti’s work pride of place, while devising a contemporary space endowed with its own identity.
“We chose a contextual approach that consisted of retaining traces of history and transforming the constraints imposed by the existing building into assets for contemporary creation.”
The architect took advantage of the different levels, allowing him to create unique perspectives and points of view and to organise a maze-like scenographic pathway in which alternating ceiling heights and competing directional flows provide different experiences.
“We created a scenographic visit dotted with surprises and events, through a contextual approach and a customised, minimalist intervention,”
The visitors access the exhibition rooms via a patio integrated within the scenographic space thanks to a glass element created by the architect.
For Pascal Grasso and Pierre-Antoine Gatier, the rule of thumb when intervening within protected spaces was to work on “conservation of the decors”, but not on an identical restoration of existing elements. The goal was to preserve the markers of time, the historic traces, and to add the elements required for the venue’s new vocation with contemporary flair.
The renovation respects the principles of reversibility and limits the contemporary interventions, while maintaining a distance from the historic decors.
“Partitions, picture rails, pedestals, and lighting fixtures in white stand out against the historic decors and appear to float. The form of the suspended lights was inspired by the geometry of the historic ceilings that accommodate them, to make new, contemporary chandeliers that extend the historic stratification of the venue.”
Pascal Grasso, architect
He lives in Paris and has worked there since 2003. After working for Jean Nouvel, notably, on the Théatre de Perpignan and for agnès b on the renovation of a tower in Japan, Pascal Grasso developed his agency around remarkable projects for gallerists, collectors, and prestigious cultural institutions. He thus devised La Galerie des Galeries, the art and design exhibition space inside Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, the restaurant Nomiya, sitting on the rooftop of the Palais de Tokyo – which he designed with his brother, artist Laurent Grasso. Pascal Grasso also builds exceptional villas on remarkable sites, favouring contextual architecture and seeking pared-down lines in a minimalist style. The spaces he designs are all endowed with a strong identity and subtly blur the lines between contemporary art and architecture.