The Tower – a shining artistic focal point

Standing tall like a beacon at the heart of a sprawling artistic campus, Frank Gehry's stainless steel-clad tower offers galleries and workspaces 

Designed by architect Frank Gehry, Gehry Partners

From the architect:

A twisting geometric structure by Canadian architect Frank Gehry (designer of the iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain) sits at the heart of the newly opened LUMA Arles, a 27-acre creative campus at the Parc des Ateliers in the city of Arles.

Gehry's 15,000m² Tower is finished with 11,000 stainless steel panels and houses exhibition galleries, project spaces and the LUMA’s research and archive facilities, alongside workshop and seminar rooms.

Describing his building, Frank Gehry says: “We wanted to evoke the local, from Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ to the soaring rock clusters you find in the region. Its central drum echoes the plan of the Roman amphitheatre.” 

The campus is also home to seven former railway factories, four of which have been renovated by Selldorf Architects as exhibition and performance spaces. The surrounding gardens and public park are designed by landscape architect Bas Smets. 

The Arles project is the brainchild of Maja Hoffmann, who established the LUMA Foundation in 2004 as a leading international philanthropic organisation.

The foundation focuses on the direct relationships between art, culture, environmental issues, human rights, education and research.

It is dedicated to providing artists with opportunities to experiment in the production of new work, in close collaboration with other artists from a variety of disciplines, with curators, and diverse audiences. 

Maja Hoffmann, Founder and President of the LUMA Foundation, said: “LUMA is the fruit of a number of years of experimentation and of a lifelong commitment to artists and a healthy environment, it’s a total immersion in a world, both inside the premises and outside, in which the visitors can engage, as their fancy takes them.

“The different areas of the Parc des Ateliers, thanks to their size and types, will enable us to produce an interdisciplinary programme, adapted to a fluctuating environment that offers new opportunities for artists and thinkers, freeing them up from the constraints inherent to the practices and structures of classical institutions.”

The city of Arles is located in the French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in the Mediterranean South of France, between two nature reserves, the Camargue wetlands and the mountain range of Les Alpilles.

Arles became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981, incorporating its Roman and Romanesque legacy which includes the monumental Arles Amphitheatre, the Alyscamps and the antique theatre. 

Work by over 45 artists and designers feature in the opening programme, with special new commissions for LUMA by major international artists, including Etel Adnan, Ólafur Elíasson, Koo Jeong A, Kapwani Kiwanga, Helen Marten, Pierre Huyghe, Carsten Höller, Philippe Parreno and Rirkrit Tiravanija amongst others.

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Iwan Baan and Adrian Deweerdt

22 Aug, 2021

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